A misty morning photo shoot in the hibiscus garden at the Land Split. I could have spent hours in the hibiscus field watching the dew dry and the blossoms slowly open. Alas, we had other plans for the day.
After a nice breakfast overlooking the Pai River we set off for Mae Hong Son. Another several hours and hundreds more of those curves we found ourselves in the town my heart calls home, Mae Hong Son. We arrived on this specific day on purpose. I’d heard about a festival, The Small World Festival, when Tee and I had passed through Mae Hong Son in January 2015.
“At the SWF Hill Tribal children from over 50 mountain schools will share their indigenous music, dance, handicrafts and food with Thai’s, tourists and other members of hill tribes.” -co-host Toys for Thailand.
When I described this unique event, with students from Hmong, P’oa, Lahu, Lisu, Long neck Kayan, Lawu, Karen, Shan, Big Ear Padong Kayan, Yue-Man, Akha, and Wuu communities coming together to share their cultures, to Pam and Mom they both agreed that we needed to make this work into our grand itinerary.
After checking into the lovely Piya Guesthouse we made a beeline for the festival, conveniently located just on the other side of Jongkham Lake. Throughout the afternoon we made several passes through the small festival admiring the Karen weaving, vegetable displays, weaving demonstration, fruit carvings, woven baskets, pastel artwork, traditional clothing, and foods from the various groups.
The older students were running many of the stalls while games and craft activities kept the younger ones engaged. I stopped at the mobile library where students were reading out loud to volunteers. I thought of my WFOL friends as I watched them read and learned about the library projects.
I had my own small world moment when I met the aunt of a friend from California at the festival.
I was still running a mild fever and feeling worn out so I missed all the dancing and singing in the evening. I guess I’ll just have to go back next year. Yay!