Laos – Huay Bo Village

13/06/16

In the morning I had an omlette, which was most likely fresh egg from one of the hundreds of chickens that so kindly woke me up at 5am. Here like the minority village I visited in Luang Prabang, they keep many animals raising them as free range and on rice. They also have pigs, ducks, cows, buffalow and dog.

The owner explained to me that the Vietnamese had taught them how to eat dog only recently so the older generation don’t eat dog but everyone else enjoys a good BBQ. I don’t feel too upset as it’s different out here, animals aren’t pets, they are food and if a dog can feed half a village that’s half a village who won’t have to worry about food for the night. It is all self sufficient here and all the vegetables and meat are grown and raised on the village, the most common meat they eat is buffalow which they smoke to keep for longer, and they eat a lot of bamboo and pumpkin.

That morning the kids were all playing a game on my friends Ipad, which they all thought was iphone 7, and were playing Flappy Bird for a good half hour. Afterwards I noticed some other kids were grating corn, so I asked them if it was food for us or the animals, and the answer was yes so I had no idea what they were doing. Gee then came and told me that they were going to make a sweet dish from the grated corn, and asked if I wanted to help. I of course said yes, and started grating away.

The next stage was to pound the grated corn to make it more like flour, and then once fine enough it was mixed with some coconut powder and sugar and I think a little water to make into a thick paste. This paste was then put into the corn leaves and wrapped up like a little parcel, then fried for an hour. Completely unhealthy and took the whole day to make, and when I came to try it was underwhelmed but pleased I was part of the process and got to try a local delicacy. While I was waiting for the paste to cook, I was playing with the cutest baby ever, who at first was terrified of me but then warmed up. He was happy to play with just a bottle of water, had no toys but a community of women and kids willing to play with him and keep him entertained. A complete difference to how kids are raised over in the uk!

I then tried to find the waterfall – I had attempted earlier in the day but some kids told me no and pointed to the rain clouds so I read my book for a while – and failed. There was a vague sign with no arrow on so I was walking through a rice field for a bit, enjoying the buffalows company and the noisey ducks, and then headed back. I saw some kids with nets and other tools but had no idea what they were up to but thought it was great they were able to use this land to explore and learn. I’m not sure how often they go to school, but the young kids stay in Huay Bo, and then they have to attend school at Mung Ngoi and then for high school they move to Nong Khiaw. I did also take a look round the village and saw many woman making nets, weaving and looking after the babies, the roles for men and women are very divided here and generally the men will work in the farm (young women too) and will fix any machinary, or hunt and fish for food. The women seem happy to be part of the village life looking after the family and because they all do it together, it is really social for them.

I then sat and read my book in a hammock for the rest of the afternoon, it was way too hot to do anything so it was a perfect excuse to relax for once! For dinner we joined our host again, and had chicken soup with pumpkin and rice. The soup was so good, it was boiled with ginger and lemongrass, so simple but so tasty. I wasn’t too sure of the village chicken as it’s so boney but the host was explaining Laos people love bone and because their chickens are free to roam they don’t get so big but are more tasty. Laos people will spend more money on a village chicken than a farmed chicken because of the bones. I stayed up a bit later that night and enjoyed watching the fireflies but still headed to bed when it was really dark and probably at 9pm…

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