Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lahu Thanksgiving

It's been a few weeks of Lahu cultural events! (And, yes, an American cultural event as well, but that's next post!)

A couple weeks ago I finally went to the village of one of my students. It was such a great opportunity since I told him a couple years ago that I would really try to make it there. Well, I finally did!

We left early in the morning, piling into the back of a pick-up truck that took us a couple hours to the north. The weather was beautiful and sitting back there seeing the mountains and crops pass us by was so beautiful. Thailand is truly a gorgeous place.

The hired truck with some students and a teacher.

We arrived and had a wonderful breakfast (brunch?) and then went to the villages Thanksgiving service. There, several groups got up and sang a song or two, including some of the students, and then there was a message given in Lahu. It isn't until I hear another language other than Thai that I feel like, oh I wish they would speak in Thai, then I would understand a little! I didn't understand but got some translation later.

The oh so delicious food!

Austin, me, Bouy after eating.

In an open area of the village tents were put up and people brought all different kinds of food. After eating we spent some time relaxing indoors - talking and eating snacks.

A couple of the tents set up with food. In the center people are grabbing containers of rice off the table.

One of the long tables of food.

My food.

The view from where we ate.

Eating snacks in Samuey's house.

Samuey pouring some Fanta to drink with our snacks.

Samuey was our host, but I was able to see where another of my students lives, and a former student. It was a great opportunity to see where they are from and meet their families.

Before long, it was time to head back to Chiang Mai - another fun experience under my belt.

Posted by: Aj. Erika

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lahu Wedding

Weddings are truly a cultural experience. Weddings in Thailand - at least those I have been too - are similar to religious ceremonies in the US in that the pastor reads through what is expected of each throughout the marriage. They also talk about it being a union that God instituted. (Of course, this is what I know from my students' translations!). Also, friends of the bride and/or groom sing songs for them. The ceremony is generally really short, depending on the pastor and how long he will talk. They sign the document in front of everyone as witnesses and then the ceremony is over.

After the ceremony there is food! The whole village seems to help and they start cooking long before. They usually kill a pig and a bunch of chickens (I'm thankful for the latter!). They set up large tents and the guests sit and eat. After everyone has eaten the bride and groom go to the groom's village to stay for a few days (I suppose when that is possible). In that village there is another feast.

One thing that has struck me at the four weddings I've been to is that the bride and groom are both very involved in getting everything ready. They often serve the guests food and help clean up. It's a lot of work for them! (Not to say, of course, that their families and others in the village don't put in a lot of time, too!) The couple looks very humble and serving throughout the whole thing. Somehow it seems less like the focus is on them that day than that their focus is on others that day. And serving and working together.

A couple weeks ago one of my former students got married. I went to the wedding with some of the other students here. It was a wonderful time. I was able to meet Surachai's family and his new wife. And I was able to see more of Thailand. We went to the bride's village first, and spent the night. Early the next morning at 8 they had the ceremony. We ate and then hopped in a truck for the drive to the groom's village, which took about 2 hours. After eating again there, we came back to school.

The bride and groom are both Lahu* and are wearing traditional Lahu dress in the pictures below.

The guests.

The bride and groom saying vows (I think!).

The bride and groom with friends (plus another teacher and I).

The view on the way to the groom's village.

* The Lahu are an ethnic group found in many countries in Asia including China, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. In Thailand they are one of the six main hilltribe groups.
Wikipedia - Lahu people article

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Feast 2011 - Khun Yuam

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to head up to Khun Yuam, a sleepy town west of Chiang Mai, with some of my students for the Feast of Tabernacles*. I've been there before but never had the chance to explore.

We had many activities, in addition to services and bible study every day, that were really enjoyable. We had a couple sports days out at the field (an old Japanese airstrip from WW2) which included football (soccer), tag, a balloon toss, and badminton. Back at the hotel we played a few rousing games of Bunko and Spoons.

It was an enjoyable time of getting to meet some new people, seeing those from the refugee camps, those from Burma, and hanging out with students. The weather was also great and the setting was so relaxing.
Here are some pictures!
The beautiful view from the hotel.

Some of the Legacy students that went up with us.


Trip to the waterfalls.

Kathree, Haechi, Bpoum, Rumee
(Photo credit: Peto)


Balloon toss



Some of the brethren from the camps
Back row: LayGayToo, SawPoHtoo, SawSeyHtoo, TooMyaShwee, SayNeePaw, Front row: NawDawBleePhaw, SayNeeHtoo, ..., EhKaNehHtoo, SayNeeSay, NayBluHtoo

We had a wonderful time and now we are back into the swing of school! More posts on that to come!

* Leviticus 23:33-44