Yay for Yeh mi!
Our little Abigail has been given the name Yeh mi by the Akha of Mae Salong, and has been widely accepted as the newest little Akha girl in the village.
On August 26th we were able to go up to Mae Salong to introduce Abigail to our village family and to ask the elders to give her a name. In the most traditional Akha villages, the children are named by a grandparent, great-grandparent, village elder or a spirit priest. We wanted to continue in this tradition, but the problem we faced was that there are so many elders in our village who have adopted us as their own and to choose one of them to give her a name would have been a very difficult and delicate process.
We were blessed, however, to have Aje and Nancy join us in the village for the day, and after talking with Aje about our dilemma, he suggested that we pose the question to the whole village in church on Sunday morning.
So, we did. Five or six names were suggested from some of the most important people in our lives, but one name was suggested by a man who is very dear to our hearts. If Lydia is our Akha mother, than this man and his wife are our Akha grandparents.
The name he suggested, Yehmi, literally means "daughter of God".
We loved the name right away, but - determined to let everyone have a part in the decision - we put all the names to a vote, with Yehmi ending up with the overwhelming majority.
Right after the church had named her, we took some pictures with our Akha Grandpa, and his wife brought a traditional Akha baby hat as a gift for little Yehmi. This was another very special moment, because the silver coin used on the hat was given to our Akha Grandma by her mother.
After some prayer and teaching, it was time for the whole village to get a closer look at their newest little girl - and Yehmi was right at home, sleeping peacefully as she was passed from person to person and gripped her gifts of sa da and ya u like a pro (the Akha give money and hardboiled eggs to newborn babies as a blessing to the family to purchase new items for their child and to ensure the mother has enough protein in her milk).
* We know that these posts are late in coming, sorry about the delays. Hopefully over the next week we will be able to catch you all up on our last month. Thanks for your patience!