By Karen J. Coates / Photo by Jerry Redfern
May 3, 2010
A while back, I posted my account of eating for nine days in the northern Lao village of Sophoon. That was an example of what comes to the dinner table when the hosts know they have guests to feed. A few days ago, we trekked to the Hmong village of Ban Pakeo, several hours on foot from another Hmong village outside of Phonsavanh. We went there for a variety of reasons (old jars, for one), and you’ll have the opportunity to read much more about this in the future. But first, let’s consider dinner.
Ban Pakeo has no electricity (though that might change if villagers agree on allowing solar panels into their community). When we visited five years ago, villagers had to walk up and down steep hills to retrieve small buckets of water (that’s changed, thanks to a couple of water taps installed by Engineers Without Borders and a man named Don May at Fort Lewis College). Ban Pakeo has a cell phone, but it takes an afternoon hike to charge the phone in the nearest roadside village. Bottom line: no one knew we were coming for dinner. READ MORE