ELL: Akha Journal: Sept 6, 2001

Matthew McDaniel akha at LOXINFO.CO.TH
Fri Sep 7 13:48:38 UTC 2001

Dear Friends:

1.  Swing Festival

One of the most vigorous swing festivals I can remember with extra
strong swings this year, made of large bamboo poles, with stout braided
ropes made of bark.  All of the fathers went out and got small bamboo
poles to build small swings for their children at each hut.

Swinging on the swing is welcome to everyone.  It is a rigorous sport.
First off you put you take hold of the large braided rope and walk
backwards till you have to put you left leg high to get your foot into
it.  Upon doing this you must then grab the rope a short ways above that
but intentionally not too high and leap into the air.  Keeping your body
from rotating is the trick, as you swing out you throw your right foot
as high as possible leaning back and down as you pull severely hard
backwards on the rope.  Then as you swing back you quickly bend your
left knee and drop your right leg low, slacking your pull on the rope,
then again, right leg high, left leg straight, and pulling as hard on
the rope as you lean far backward your head pointing down the higher you
swing.  The Akha men, even old men are able to do this till they have
catapulted themselves so high that their heads are pointed nearly
straight down.  A very tough workout on the forearms.  Akha women sit in
the large loop of the rope and with a rope tied to this, several other
women pull them to great swinging height.

Now the Akha Swing Festival is over.  Conducted in traditional villages
only, and sad to say the kind loving Christians have forbid it in a
record number of villages this year.

2. Boarding School Report

Two Irish Volunteers Report on the Maesai Baptist Boarding School Prison

3. Hilltribe Arrest and Forced Expulsion delayed till Aug 29, 2002

A deadline for a proposed arrest and deportation of hilltribe people
without ID cards was extended for a year.  The proposal will be fought
over the next year.

4. Pah Nmm Akha experiences 13ths infant death.

A family in Pah Nmm Akha which was removed an hour and a  half from its
fields by the Thai Army has experienced its 13 miscarriage or death
immediately following delivery in 2 1/2 years.

5. Mountain Exodus

With extreme pressure on the villages, it is little wonder that many
Akha are seeking any improved income outside of the mountains where they
are highly restricted now that they have been given ID cards.  Was this
the goal of the granting of ID cards?

6. Death of Ah Pah, new details

Ah Pah was beaten and died at Mae Salep Akha.  We find that he is
survived by a daughter and two young sons.  However his wife is no
longer able to keep up with the work in the fields by herself and there
is no income to feed her sons.  Her daughter is married to a man from
Germany  and they are expecting a child who will not have a grandfather.

According to the German man, when he viewed the body of her father at
the hospital there was no indication of any injury from a road accident
which is what the police claimed killed Ah Pah.  A fracture of the base
of the skull is the autopsy report of death.

The family received only 30,000 baht ($680) from the police, not the
previously reported 40,000.

Any Westerners married to Akha women are encouraged to contact us to
join the formation of a committee regarding Akha Human Rights in

7. Harassment of Akha Women by both Thai Yai and Wa Armies on Thai Side
of the border

Soldiers of both the Wa and Thai Yai armies, stationed along the Thai
border with Chiangrai's province have been harassing, grabbing,
attacking, beating and raping Akha women who are farming in these border
regions in their fields on the Thai side.

The incidents are increasingly frequent.

Women from numerous villages have been raped.  One was severely beaten.
As well a number of local men have been killed in near border incidents.


Your donation can make a difference in this project and in the lives of
the Akha people. Please make a small donation today.

Matthew McDaniel
The Akha Heritage Foundation
Maesai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Join The Growing International Effort To Protect The Akha
Sign The Petition To The Thai Government
On Line At:


PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/refer/pal=akha%40loxinfo.co.th

Credit Card Donation Site:

Your donation goes to infant care, vitamins, medical supplies, wells,
bread and fish for the villages.

Donations by check or money order may be sent to:
The Akha Heritage Foundation
PO BOX 6073
Salem OR 97304  USA

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