Although I do have a thing for the Andes Mountain and the tribal people there, I haven’t had the chance to visit yet. But tell you the truth I did visit many mountain cities in east Asia. I could tell you about some foreign trips and how about my home country hills and the findings there.
So the trip I’m talking about took place in Banadarban area, place called ‘Ruma’ and ‘Thanchi’ to be more precise.
Due to the proximity to the border with Myanmar and some rebel groups there, you have to register with the Army and have to explain your reason for being there. “Discovering the tribal area, learning about the cultural differences and living with them” isn’t good enough reason for some..!
Anyway after a good reasoning, the permit was issued and I proceed to get on a boat to discover the deeper parts of the area.
It gets greener and quieter along the way and you see more nature and wildlife as the journey continues!
Hiking, yes hiking through real forest and on the wild track, was the next way in.
Getting lost is fun there and hard to get back on right track. Luckily I had a tribal guy along who happened to go same direction as me.
It gets dark quickly in the hills though. I had a high power torchlight but I didn’t use it at all because : you don’t want to miss the opportunity, to hike on full moon night!
Tell you what…it’s such an earthly experience and at the same time it’s another dimension!
At the tribal village I had some difficulties with language barriers even though they welcome outsiders with wonderful hospitality, I have to say. All was good after warm bowl of rice and some fried banana and a floor bed to sleep (in tribal way but clean).
A few hours into my sleep I awoke, due to a sound of someone’s delirium in an unknown language. Reason: The lady of the house was shivering with heavy fever and headache. Double paracetamol from my medical kit did the work & no more sound except some howls outside.
I was really surprised that they took my medicine, just like that.
In the morning though, the smile she showed me with her toothless face was priceless as well as her blessings!
Living with them for those few days was a valuable learning point of my life.The simple day to day living without any chain of demands will teach you something, as well as question your daily city life.
They grow everything by themselves and the rest, they exchange with the others in the village. At the end of the week they go to the far side of the hills (more like five hours hiking with a load in their back!) to reach the market and sell their handicrafts and do some local trading . Big bank notes are very unusual to them.
Helping them farming and other daily works was real fun. Because every little thing they do in their own way and much faster than ours. No modern chaos, traffic and no sound except the sound of the forest and the waterfall nearby, its arithmetic wild version!
In the evening though some melancholic tribal songs with local tribal instruments will help you forget the calendar year!
In every few months time, some Ngo medical team visited them if they needed surgery but that would be very rare. Living- breathing in place like that with a healthy simple life cycle, you can keep the doctor away…
Leaving them was very emotional for me. I left some part of me there but I was able to re-build some more me’s with the building blocks from the experience!