ELL: Akha Weekly Journal 17 Feb 2000

Matthew McDaniel akha at LOXINFO.CO.TH
Thu Feb 17 07:52:58 UTC 2000

Dear Friends:

Finally Friends, Akha.com is back on line and a little patience while I
get it all re-loaded.

Well, some progress at last.

It looks like Huuh Mah Akha will not be moved any time soon.  (Huai Maak

But from what I hear, Thai Army is looking for anther village to move to
the same location where the empty houses now stand, shutters closed.
Course, the site isn't looking so good since the top part of the hill
jumped off and already smashed one of the houses.

Anyone there know how to contact Rotary International in the US to have
them come and get this housing and replant the mountain?  They paid for
it, and they aren't done paying.

Then I discover that in the villages, there is this real high in vitro
death rate, wow, couldn't believe it.  So I asked the Akha and they said
that the clinics, the gov. clinics told them they have to take the
injection, just tetanus.  The people at the nurse level tell them they
must or they won't get ID Papers for the baby. Well I recalled this, and
then I went to asking why pregnant women are being injected for
tetanus.  Well its safe, done it for years, so why not.  Well, maybe
because of 40 families there are 8 in vitro deaths in three years.
Maybe that might be reason?  So now I have this one woman, the eighth,
who is six months pregnant and the doctors told her the baby is dead.
Course the vaccine does give you a fever, so maybe it gives the unborn
child a little more?

Currently one woman is in induced labor in chiangrai to remove the dead
unborn child she carries.

We had a problem at another village.  The white missionaries came in and
built a church in the lahu village a few meters away from the
traditional Akha village.  I happened to stay there one night and I was
woken up in early morning by a loudspeaker blasting religious songs from
that village.  So I gently drove my  truck to that village site, where
there just happened to be a Lahu man adjusting the speaker to aim it at
the Akha village I had been sleeping in at just a little past 6 am.  I
asked him to kindly unplug it.  No way, was their right.  Ok, no
problem.  Say, who gave you that?  The missionaries? Oh of course.
Should have known.  White  boy from Omaha.  Ok, no problem, say you got
any idea what size that speaker is?  6 Inches?  Ok, I tell you what I'm
gonna do, now I am going to go down into town and buy one of those 16
inch ones, and I'm gonna buy two and an amp or two, and as long as you
don't mind tonight we are going to have a party over there in the Akha
village, you know the one that likes to sleep to 6 am, and we are gonna
do a little Akha Rock and Roll, just about whenever we feel like it,
hope you don't mind.

So that is what I did.  We got two of them big 16 inch whopper megaphone
speakers, a 250 watt amp, and a mic and a tape deck and we set it up
around 8 pm and we cranked out recitals, a wedding, rock, you name it,
and we did it all night long just out of certain respect to the
missionaries and their thoughtfulness to always being so willing to
share with us.

Funny, we don't hear that speaker much any more, seems we came up with
at least one answer for it.

Since the initial crisis of Huuh Mah Akha is over I am working on
solutions to the pine tree planting and the loss of rice lands to this.
>From many a standpoint, the Haen Taek region is becoming an
environmental disaster.  What was a somewhat balanced eco system, is now
being destroyed with the intent on the part of someone to make just one
more destination for everyone.  Karaokes, homes, businesses, congestion,
all crowded into a tiny land peninsula surrounded on both sides by
Burma.  The concern of many over increased traffic, increased residents,
increased water and land demand, increased garbage and sewage, have gone
unheaded.  Trucks roll non stop into the region with concrete and other
building materials.  Large track back hoes can be seen building the road
bigger, chopping out pieces of mountain for building sites, digging
ponds for fish and beer gardens.  Every natural rock in the river coming
down out of the mountains is being removed in order to build retaining

So the good news of this week is, although we have not discovered the
source of the premature deaths in unborn Akhas we have identified a new
dramatic part of the picture that we are now investigating in an attempt
to provide health and food security for these people.

Also, I have up the New Ambulance Page.  We have only found one vehicle
design that is capable of handling the severe road conditions here in
the mountains and you can see the size of this extensive aquisition
project at http://www.akha.com/hummer.htm

I will be adding more story and photos to this site with time.

People on occasion have commented at the cost of this vehicle to which I
have countered that it is cheaper than ambulances in the US with a much
greater service area and population over much more difficult terrain and
roads.  The Toyota pictured at that site took me more than 40,000 miles
last year, quite slowly in many situations I must add and on at least
one occasion to the wrong location.

Matthew McDaniel


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

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