Sunday, 14 June 2015

Pictures from Mai Chau, Northern Vietnam by David Keegan

Mai Chau Northern Vietnam January 2015

Set in an idyllic valley, the Mai Chau area is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi from where my journey started. It is not an easy place to reach, even by private car, a long and arduous bumpy 5 hour drive. Worth it though! The villagers are mostly White Thai, distantly related to tribes in Thailand, Laos and China. Below is my picture diary taken during a whistle stop bicycle tour of the area. In these pictures the focus is on the people as they go about their daily lives rather than the usual over-coloured travel photography. In so doing i hope this is a more honest portrait of a place and its people. Taken in January 2015 the focus at this time is very much the preparation of the fields for rice planting.

We stayed in the Mai Chau Valley View  click the link for his website and were hosted by Mr Duong and his family. Mr Duong was kind enough to take us on a guided tour of the area which resulted in the pictures below. he is a wonderful man with great local knowledge. 

The sun sets on Mai Chau

Working the rice paddies

Preparing the earth for rice sowing watched by faithful dog

Plastic tunnels used as plant nurseries to germinate rice plants in readiness for planting

If you are fortunate enough you will have water buffalo to assist with ploughing the fields 

Inspecting the fields, or going for a stroll, or maybe checking up on her husbands progress?

There is always time for a smile 

A rare Albino water Buffalo, work done for the day he is unharnessed from the plough and can now snack on banana leaves.

Animal versus machine. I can only wonder how long theses traditional methods of farming will survive in Vietnam and other parts of Asia?

Washing the plough

Some families cannot afford an Ox, or Buffalo, so must dig the fields with hand tools in preparation for rice planting. Here a grandmother is assisted by two of her grandchildren. Schooled in the morning they are expected to help in the fields in the afternoon.

A woman returns home after a day spent working the land.

Entrance to village

A village elder out for a stroll

Typical homestead

Buffalo calf receives a treat of sliced cassava

Suspended from roof in background a coffin carved from  solid tree trunk. Most houses are built on stilts and will have a coffin similar to this in readiness for death. Sometimes if a family does not have a coffin ready when needed they will be loaned out and replaced in due course.

Machine for slicing cassava for animal feed

To the locals it is still winter and cold. 

Grandmother looks after grandson whilst mother and father work.

Wonderful view of surrounding mountains, rice fields to foreground.

The washing machine. Local place for washing clothes

Duck for dinner. Here the duck is dipped in boiling water making it easier to pluck, much to the fascination and delight of the woman's daughter.

This post its contents and pictures is the copyrighted property of David Keegan 2015 ©
All pictures taken large format 320 DPI Picture quality is reduced to preserve copyright.s

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