This year Ma Te Sai has embarked on it's second sewing skills program with village artisans. We have 20 trainees from 6 different ethnic groups and villages in the Luang Namtha area, in remote Northern Laos. Why do we train women to sew? It lets us follow our mission; a mission to work with women in remote areas and create finished products in their villages to earn a better living. But what we actually get in return is so much more, let me tell you how much more.
Today, you may only identify the Kui (pronounced Gway) people by a comb worn in the front of the women’s hair. And not all the women wear this. However Say, our driver, guide and true lover of the unknown, was in search of a Kui village, an ethnic group he had not met.
It was dark when we arrived at the Muang Long market and the vendors themselves were still arriving and claiming their square. The Akha Pouly women were over in the corner, and it felt good over there. I would go around the market to see what was for sale, take another turn to see what had sold, but, I best liked the corner with the Akha women.
February in Luang Namtha province is “paper making season”. The Lanten people make bamboo paper for three months during the dry season. Made for their own ceremonial use, they also sell it to Hmong people.