Where do I start with our adventure in staying with a Hmong family who do not speak English and live in a traditional home on the side of a mountain?
Well, firstly we trekked for 6 hours up and down hills, through valleys, along rice paddy ridges with gumboots and our packs on our backs. We headed off from the Sapa Summit Hotel at 9am and reached our overnight destination at 3pm. It was both challenging with 4 kids as well as fun on this journey. The night before there was a massive thunderstorm with heavy rain so we bought ponchos just in case as well as hiring the gumboots from the hotel for all of us.
The conditions were,as I have said, challenging. But mostly, the more mud the happier the girls were and we’re usually up front with the Hmong children (we were lagging behind trying not to fall over) who assisted them down slippery hills or were found under an umbrella that some of the Hmong followers had brought along to keep the sun away. In the end the girls loved the mud more then the simple track so we stuck to it.
Along the way we met many Hmong women and girls who befriended us and helped us through to our lunch stop. Somehow they just appear and stick to you. The questions go – how are you? What is your name? How old are you? You have 4 babies? I have lost track how many Hmong people we met. Once we arrive at our lunch stop it’s selling time. They have all carried a basket full of goodies or a baby on their back, and they want you to purchase their items for helping you and looking out for you. And many times they certainly did. Steve nearly fell down a part of the hill and his Hmong woman grabbed onto him, but then he nearly pulled her down! The chatter about that incident went on for 10 minutes. Here are the girls in bargaining action with the children selling items to them.
The people here and in Hanoi are so friendly and ever so helpful to our family. It’s been amazing up here in Sapa. Next you’ll meet our lovely Hmong family we stayed overnight with in the next post.