One of the things we enjoyed about Laos were the people. During a recent visit to Luang Prabang, we had the opportunity to visit a Hmong Village not far from the city.
The Hmong Ethnic Group
In Laos there are close to 50 ethnic minority groups and among one of these groups are the Hmong people. The Hmong generally reside in the hill and mountain areas of Vietnam, China, Thailand and Laos. The Hmong people of this village in Laos have a long and complicated history of being persecuted and disenfranchised. This day, we concerned ourselves with the kindness and tenacity of the people.
Life In The Village
We traveled with a local guide while visiting Laos, which made our journey much easier and informational. When we arrived at this small village, it wasn’t long before we had children following us and trying to sell us their products. For some visitors, that can be very uncomfortable. However, we had been in situations like this before so we just politely said “no, thank you”.
In the ethnic villages, it is not uncommon for the women of the village to contribute to the family by making and selling handmade embroidery items. Weaving and embroidery are popular ways that local women can contribute to the household by selling to tourists.
The Hmong life appears to be very self sufficient. Most of their food is grown and raised in the village. Chickens and roosters run free and owning a buffalo is a very big deal. The homes are very simple made of wood, grass roofs and dirt floors. Women sell goods, care for the kids, work the land and prepare each meal, while the men find local work outside the village.
Treats For The Kids
We decided to have some fun with the village children. We purchased several bags of treats at the village store and the kids came running! Like all kids from around the world, they were eager to receive treats and patiently waited their turn.
Life in these villages on a daily basis can be challenging. The people of this Hmong village made us feel welcome and the smiles on the children’s faces will carry us far. I hope on that warm day in May, we brought some smiles to these beautiful people in that small village of Laos.