Rice, Bamboo and the Akha

The Akha way of life is centered around rice. It encompasses every aspect of their lives.  Preparing the fields, planting, harvesting.

every meal every day every month every year

It's no wonder that rice is the center of religion, culture and celebration in the Akha world. But, if there is a secondary symbol of importance in the Akha community, it is bamboo.

Bamboo provides tools and toys. Secular and sacred objects.

If rice is the focus of the Akha way of life, bamboo is the function of that life.

In our village the children learn at a very young age how to turn scraps of bamboo into functional creations. Boys of three and four years old create woven masterpieces to complete the homes and tools of their minor kingdoms. Their education in the vegetation and animalia around them is extensive, any Akha child of age can easily forage a meal while walking through the jungle.

This interaction with the world around them builds a community and identity among the Akha people, and will continue to be important to them wherever the evolution of their culture leads in the years to come.

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