Friday, April 10, 2009
Ban Lau Hu village, Chiang Rai
Ban Lau Hu village is located in the Mae Chan ( แม่จัน) district, Chiang Rai Province (ชียงราย), North Thailand. It is one of the many villages in the northernmost province of Chiang Rai. In the north, the province border the Shan state of Myanmar(Burma). The village is located along Mae Chan- Fang Highway(Highway 1089).
When you visit Chiang Rai, the most interesting place is not the Chiang Rai town, but the hills and mountain, the small villages, and the hill tribes people.
Ban Lau Hu is a village with multiracial, the people there are Akha, Lishu, Lahhu, Hmong, & Yunnan Chinese. The people here are friendly, despite they are from different tribes, and different background, they are living together peacefully. They have seen war, now peace is the most valued. They have no shopping complex, but in the afternoon they may meet in the community hall in the village, talking about the past, future, the family; with a cup of local tea for each of us....
There was a Chinese school donated by Taiwanese Christian charity. A famous drug rehabilitation centre managed by Taiwan,which are for the male and female(House of Sisters). There is also a big church in the village, most of the villagers are Christian.
The photo was taken while we are exploring the area near the school, early in the morning. The morning in the villages was cold and with fresh air, it was late December. There is a stream before we reached the school. The school only opened at night, as in the morning the students go to Thai school run by the government. Most of the students are tribe people. I still remember one night when one of the students missed the transport after school, she cried sadly as she has to walk back home, many miles away. One of the teacher volunteer to take her home by bike, it may not be in the flat land, the teacher need to take her back to the place in the hill. Students in the city should be thankful, for they have all the facilities available.
There is also one Drug Rehabilitation Centre, run by Taiwanese Christian. The students are from all over Thailand, especially north Thailand, even students from Taiwan and Hong Kong. The centre served the function of helping the young drug addicts to return to normal life. Many of the students from the centre later go to the bible college, become a pastor, and serving in all part of North Thailand. Most of these pastors in North Thailand are serving God by faith,with little resources. Ban Lau Hu village can said to be the source for bible school students in the area. In this small village.
The elders here have many stories to tell too. I met some ex soldiers from KMT(Kuomintang) armies, who fought the Japanese during WW2, Thai communists, drug armies etc. They are Yunnan Chinese. They will tell you the difficult days from the past. I also met one Hmong from ex US army in the village, he is afraid to stay back in Loas, due to political reason. These elders are grandpa now, taking care of the grandchildren, living peaceful in the village. No war........
Chiang Rai is near the Golden Triangle,which is located in the same province, where the area was once the world's main opium producing area. The opium production is no more in the area due to the effort of the Thai government and UN. Some of area has converted to beautiful garden, some have planted cash crops especially coffee.
But there are still many drug addicts that need help(not in the village, but other places), the main social problem. The Burma side of Golden Triangle still producing opium, and are controlled by Wa armies. The young people has no job in the village, they need to move to other cities to find job. If they stay in the village, the main livelihood is farming, especially maize. In the flat land, paddy is planted.
There is a hot spring nearby, Huai Hin Fon Hot Spring(8th km from Mae Chan). Just enjoy the hot spring after a long hike in the hill.
Also enjoy the beautiful view along the highway from Mae Chan to Fang.
This village is beautiful & peaceful ......