This post is in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.
In the far northern highland of Vietnam, right on the China border, is Lào Cai Province. The people who live here are part of the H’mong ethnic groups. Each group has their own language, dress, culture and history.
On a trip I made last year, I trekked alongside the local women through mountains, farms, rice paddy terraces and local markets. It was a fantastic experience not just for the beautiful scenery, but to be able to learn a little bit about their traditions and way of life. Compared to my cushy life, theirs seems so tough. Unless they are lucky enough to own a motorbike, they walk everywhere… for kilometres and kilometres each day, up and down valleys, on uneven dirt roads – it’s not easy. Their main source of income is through selling produce to other tribes or handicrafts to tourists. Despite all that, they are humble and warm and always smiling.
One of the biggest things to make an impression on me was their sense of ‘family’. For them, their tribe is their family. They look after each other, rely on each other, work together, and know everything about each other (women are gossipers, no matter where you go)! On our first day of trekking, we’d been going hard for a few hours, slipping and sliding down muddy paths before stopping under a shelter to escape the rain. All of a sudden, there was some fuss amongst the local ladies. We looked across to see a tiny little face pop out from a bundle of blankets. This mum had been carrying her baby the whole time! I couldn’t believe it. After I’d gotten over the shock, my heart just melted seeing her look so lovingly at her little bub.
I saw lots of kids being carried around in the most bright and colourful slings. It wasn’t always the mum who was doing the carrying either. Sometimes it was dad, sometimes grandma, and sometimes just another lady from the same tribe.