Social gathering at the village chief’s home, remote Akha Erpa village in northern Laos. The alcohol is a local moonshine they brew themselves that, depending on the batch, can taste like either a cheap vodka or kerosene. It is consumed before (during and after!) each meal, including breakfast, which is usually around 6am.
The chief is the man in the blue shirt, center image. He is also the district chief covering 6 villages, 47 families and 333 people in total, 19 of which are family members who live in the village with him, and he has 9 children of his own. He was very hospitable and always smiling (except when he got into an argument with his brother to his immediate right in the picture, which ultimately shut down the party). Opium is still very common in northern Laos and elderly villages will often smoke it before bed to help ease the bodily pains brought on from working the fields from dust to dawn.
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