We walk down into a valley and up the other side to reach the village of Nowohen where the Akha tribe lives. They also wear black clothing, but this time the women have magnificent silver headdresses, rows of beaded necklaces and beaded belts and bags. The headdresses are made of real silver and have been handed down from mother to daughter. However many of the younger women have given up wearing them because they are so uncomfortable. This, combined with the fact that tourists will pay $500 for one headdress, means that within a few years it may no longer be possible to see this tribe in their original clothing.
The homes are larger, and better constructed, although still just made of bamboo and matting. We are grateful to see that everyone looks clean, at least when compared to the last village. It turns out that the success of this village is almost entirely due to the fact that a missionary came here 14 years ago, and has taught the village basic principals of hygiene, village planning and husbandry. The entire village has converted to Catholicism. This originally caused some problems as prior to the Missionary’s arrival a tribesman was allowed two wives if he could afford them. In an example of true wisdom seldom seen in the church, the Missionary has told the people that this is fine, and that the arrangement can continue as long as the two wives were acquired before they became Christian.
In this village the wife has a separate bedroom from the husband, and if the husband desires sex, he must knock on her bedroom door first and be invited in. We might be centuries ahead of them in many ways, but we still could learn something from this tribe!