ELL: Akha Weekly Update, Dec6,1999

Matthew McDaniel akha at LOXINFO.CO.TH
Mon Dec 6 06:03:58 UTC 1999

Dear Friends:

The group from Singapore has just left, another one is coming in 7 days,
and we have gotten a lot done.  In two weeks we put a new well into one
village, completely removing and replacing an existing collapsed well,
it was quite an exhausting job, requires the utmost of care and
attention to the matters at hand. I couldn't see the students, they had
too much mud on them, would have made some sureal shots, late at night
heaving on ropes pulling buckets of mud and slop up out of what you
couldn't call much other than a very big deep hole.

We also got 800 meters of pipe run from an existing spring, then the
Akha put in numerous cisterns to catch all the new water.  This village
was very important because the bad water they were drinking was causing
continuous illness.

And at the cultural center we initiated the work on a set of five
holding tanks for raising 20,000 fish for assistance to distressed
mountain villages.  The block work on the tanks is not done yet, but
with help from the students from Singapore the 22 meter concrete slab is
down and the block work was just beginning when they left and should be
done in about five more days, light rains giving us some days off.

This is one set of ponds in an area that will hold a total of 7 sets of
ponds, enough area for more than 140,000 fish in our work to increase
the protein in the diets of villages from which the government has taken
their land.

If you are interested in sponsoring a set of ponds, the cost is
approximately $3000 for one set including fish.

I am also announcing the forming up of "Akha Working Expiditions".
These are hard, no fringes, working groups that we will be forming up to
come to Thailand and assist in the villages.  Lodging is free at the
cultural center, each individual must cover their own food costs, and
transport between sites, which really is minimal.  The Akha Cultural
center is set in a beautiful pastoral scene as part of a traditional
Akha village that we work with very closely, and accomidation is the
Akha Long House.  Group size is 25 to 30, people from all walks of life
encouraged to come, groups will be brought over as soon as enough people
are found to work together, not necessarily from the same country.

Cost is $800 for two weeks.  This must be prepaid, cost of ticket,
health insurance and the taking of malaria medication and all vacines
including for typhoid are the responsibility of the volunteer.

We hope to be doing one of these groups per month.

The goal of the groups is NOT village development, but village
SECURITY.  We do projects in villages that guarantee quality water, and
access to warm clothes and health care.  Volunteers may donate to the
project in addition or bring needed items.  Many items very much needed
in the villages can be bought here such as blankets, jackets and so

I forgot to mention that the group from Singapore also sewed together
some 500 baby blankets of flannel that I began delivering to the
villages last night along with more than 80 blankets and numerous bags
of medical supplies.

The arrangement for construction materials and supplies before each
group's arrival will rapidly speed up the projects such that volunteers
are able to see the real time results of the assistance that they
contribute to.

I traveled out to the village where we laid the pipe last night and the
water was running full in all the cisterns, new pipes being added for
huts, and smaller cisterns being planned to catch all the water, the
spirit and rev in the village was thick enough to walk on, it was
misting lightly, and all the children gathered around and asked when I
would get them a generator and a bunch of outhouses.  The rocky ground
had made this difficult to date and someone had used all the block for a
church instead so they had no place to take care of their bodily
functions in a decent manner.

I assured them that with the way in which they had kicked in gear and
hewed out 800 meters of trench for the pipe in the morning I would do my
best to find both generator and all the materials for all the outhouses
they needed, plus more blankets.

Well, jackets too.

Then myself, along with Blane, who is a friend come from the US, who
happens to be the one who brought the long armed hi lift jack to get the
truck out of the mud a time or two, well the two of us headed up for a
mountain top with fifty of those blankets and got them in there within
an hour and a half of spine pounding eye ball jumping throttle, off
loaded the blankets, apologized for not more time cause the fog and
droplets were coming down and making the road more nasty than rain does,
and we were gone, total of over 3 hours to get in and out off the main
road, including going off the road sideways while crawling down into the
village, nearly leaning the truck into the hill while we tried to crawl
back up out of an erosion rut.  Well dragged the door a little I

Course, I got memories coming up when I saw a windshield on the road,
yep, had to be a truck in the bottom.  We stopped going up and got out
and sure enough a white toyota way down in the trees like I had been but
a smoothe run down it looked, maybe one flip.  Just couldn't figure out
how he got off the straight road, though it was narrow.  He had a load
of rice on, couldn't make out for sure if he was going up or down the
grade when he went off, but no scuffs or tracks or nothin.

Anyway, they had some road to build to get him out.

Fifty meters at least, down in the bamboo.

Steeper than what you could easily walk or climb.

It was decided that it is time for a hummer here, and so we have
embarked on this adventure, this long financial trip of buying one from
the US.  I for one, did 40,000 miles of these mountain roads last year
and don't want to do that in a solid axle tippy toyota again and further
more I think I will be doing 80,000 this coming year, so no way,  but
that isn't going to get me one.  I told Blane I would drive faster if it
would help ideas gel.

Actually, maybe it is because I hold onto the steering wheel, but he
really seems to move around a lot while I am driving.  Glad he's got his
seat belt on.  Made him get out of the truck yesterday when we got over
on the door on my side, cause I told him the ten kilo of potato going on
by was bad enough and with the window open I wouldn't be able to get my
head pulled out of the mud fast enough to breath if we went on over and
that cheap toyota seat belt gave out.  He consented, not offended,
knowing his full value on the end of the drill, packing cement, and just
as one of the best hearted encouragements I know of since he is one of a
few of my friends (do have a couple left) who has come over here and
matter of fact glutton for punishment he came over twice.

Well last week we went down in that hole because it was too dangerous
for the Akhas, I wouldn't let them, body size pieces of mud fallin down
on me, and Blane he sort of spooked me when up there seven meters above
me he couldn't get over the rim and I had no where to go and there
wasn't a big enough Akha up there to grab him and drag him over it, well
good nature must have carried through, hell, he ain't big, but he's
bigger than me.

Well, I dug the hole out to seven meter and then we packed big rocks in
the bottom and went up 16 concrete rings, filled gravel on the outside
and now they have a well, solid one.

Ok, so hummer, that's what we are going to do.  $86,000 start price, and
then tools, a host of spare parts, and modifications, all that sort of
thing, then get it over here, shouldn't take much, and then figure
80,000 miles, well sort of cheap, about a $1 a mile to buy a hummer to
deliver emergency round the clock road thrashin med services to 70,000
Akhas in Thailand alone, and we got 200,000 more in Burma now that the
door is open again, so you see, that ain't much.  Heck, that's only a
few less people than we got in Salem Oregon and that is one service
vehicle, no library, no hospitals, no schools to speak of, heck these
Akha sure are not a service drain compared to the wealth you could find
in Salem and all the public assistance and freebees for those folks that
come from the feds.  Yeah, funny how we sort of make the indigenous jump
higher before we give em a fraction of what we got.  One church in salem
runs $3 million these days it seems, so I figured I'd get a hummer to
keep me in the villages just all that much more for sure.  course with
the repair record on those things, might need two of em.

Ok, now the big banana.

For this year, all services provided and all work accomplished, we are
still short $12,000 US dollars for the end of the year.  So get out your
checkbooks, don't be shy, and write a check, lets get this paid off, and
clear the decks for the new millenium.  All Akha Villages are now Y2K
ready by the way.

Now if writing a check isn't enough for you, add on $600 and come on
over here and we will give you the ride of your life, hell for leather
in the villages, puttin smiles on faces and giving back a fraction of
what we've eaten already in the west to a great bunch of people who are
a lot different than us in many ways and make this world so wonderful by
bein them and bein here.

Rest of December is going to be high water work time, just way too much
to do, camera crews coming, another group, and so much to catch up on
that I don't know if I will get another one of these out this month.

By the way, if you don't like checks, then go to the secure site listed
at the bottom of this email and use your visa card, I won't tell your
dad, mine said it was easier to get forgiveness than permission, so if
he complains, just add him to our email list, that should take care of
it.  And don't forget about the hummer, no kiddin, cause if you don't
believe me just ask Blane, or let me strap you in over on that side and
show you what I do with a toyota.

By the way, the other reason that I'm sort of gonna phase this thing
out, is that the box is gone, the front fenders are gone, the unibody
has a crack run down six inches BEHIND the battery, good back up vehicle

Saved just more than a few lives this year.



Matthew McDaniel
The Akha Heritage Foundation
386/3 Sailom Joi Rd
Maesai, Chiangrai, 57130
Mobile Phone Number:  Sometimes hard to reach while in Mountains.

US Address:

Donations by check or money order may be sent to:

The Akha Heritage Foundation
PO BOX 6073
Salem OR 97304

By Visa Card Secure Site:


Donations by direct banking can be transferred to:

Wells Fargo Bank
Akha Heritage Foundation
Acc. # 0081-889693
Keizer Branch # 1842  04
4990 N. River Road.
Keizer, Oregon,  97303 USA
ABA # 121000248

Or In Thailand:

Matthew  Duncan McDaniel
Acc. # 3980240778
Bangkok Bank Ltd.
Maesai Branch

Web Site:

mailto:akha at loxinfo.co.th

Discussion Groups:
akha at onelist.com
indigenousworld at onelist.com

Endangered-Languages-L Forum: endangered-languages-l at carmen.murdoch.edu.au
Web pages http://carmen.murdoch.edu.au/lists/endangered-languages-l/
Subscribe/unsubscribe and other commands: majordomo at carmen.murdoch.edu.au

More information about the Endangered-languages-l mailing list