A Good Hair Day
This last month has been school break for many of the schools in Thailand. It's always fun for us to have all the kids around. During this break all the teenagers went to a camp run by Akha Christian Youth (ACY). When most of the adults had left for the fields we found ourselves with a large group of 8-12 year old kids. So all day long, while Paul played various games (mostly soccer and football) Lori took on the incredible effort of "doing hair" for all of the girls in our village. Akha women are amazing, they are incredibly strong and their daughters learn quickly how to work hard. But on this one occasion we were able to give them a chance to feel beautiful. Half way through all the hair-dos one little girl came up to the group. She is a particularly tough case, and lives in a difficult home in our village. We never see her smile and although she is intrigued by us "pa la" she usually observes us from a distance. Like many children in Akha villages she has very short hair (lice & scabies). She was watching all the girls and their fancy hair braids and was just stoic in her observations. Our hearts were broken and we knew we had to do something for her. Lori remembered she had a handkerchief in our house that she might be able to use. We pulled her aside and made a big deal out of her new "hair". Once it sunk in that we really thought she was a beautiful little girl, she ran off. When she came back she had cleaned herself all up and had put on a dress! This little girl who never smiled was grinning from ear to ear for days - knowing that she truly is lovely.
In the end, all the girls took their new hair-dos and made them Akha. Picking flowers from all around our village they made themselves laurels and - of course - wanted their pictures taken.