The Amblings and Ramblings of the Ingalls Family

The travels and thoughts of Heidi, Micah, and Frances...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Untitled Update

We do not particularly have news to relate. We wanted just to post some more recent pictures of Frances for you all! We are also aware that the content of this blog has almost exclusively to do with our personal lives, rather than professional. The reason for this is that we are in the throes of considering how best to go about this.
When these are more under way we will update you all.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Baci for Blessed October

Traditionally, the Lowland Lao and other groups hold a baci for anyone who is sick, or has recently had a significant change in their life situation, who is coming away, coming, etc. In Buddhist society, this involves someone from the local temple who chants whilst everyone sits around a central stupa praying. At the end of this, everyone will tie small white strings around the wrist of the person(s) for whom the baci is held, whilst saying a blessing or a prayer for them. The strings then represent the prayers of the community, and are believed to bring the person protection or good luck, etc.

Catholics in Laos also carry out bacis. Our host father, Lyntee, explained it as ‘doing Lao custom but praying to our God.’ When we first came to Laos, we spent our initital months living with a Lao Catholic family at the western side of Vientiane. It was perhaps the most encouraging moment for us when our family gave us a baci. Micah had recently all-but succumbed to an infection and has spent a couple of weeks in hospital, we had recently moved back into our family’s home and were about to leave for Phialat to begin work. Perhaps one hundred people gathered for our baci, singing worship songs and praying for us corporately and then each, individually as they tied strings on our wrists.

This past month our family held one for Blessed October (Frances) as well. These pictures are from this ceremony.

Heidi, Micah and Blessed October in Vang Vieng

To Vang Vieng

On the 26th, we headed north to Vang Vieng for something of a reading holiday. Vang Vieng is a lovely area, surrounded by karst mountain formations.

During the American War, hundreds of people in this area lived for several years in the limestone caves in the these mountains throughout this region. The caves provided the only escape from the bombs which leveled any man made structures in the area.

Many of the new families in our district are from this area of Laos, which is home to many ethnic groups, particularly Kh’hmu and some Hmong.

Some of these pictures are from the market in Vang Vieng, where many wild animals are sold, included rats, bats, deer and birds.