We were walking past wooden houses, pigs and chickens. The dogs always follow us. Everything was quiet. The only sound I could hear was my footsteps on the dusty ground. Suddenly we stopped and entered a little hut on the side of the street. The interior of this small wooden house consisted of a mattress, some cooking pots standing on the floor and a wooden shelf. That was all. The woman sitting on the floor in the middle of the room was covered with a white lotion, to protect her skin from the heat. It was her house. Again and again, in an ongoing rhythm, she pounded the rice with a big, wooden tree branch. It looked like an oversized mortar and pestle. She was sad. Her eyes were tired and in a weary voice she told us that her husband was working in the fields and she wasn’t feeling well. She had no children. The loneliness of this woman was palpable. It was sad watching her.

This woman distinguishes herself from the other Lisu people. Normally, the traditional, colourful dresses reflect their lives and mindset. Always smiling and doing their best to make you smile, too. Making you feel comfortable and at home. Even though many Lisu people only speak Thai or their Lisu dialect, we somehow manage to communicate, using hands and feet.

Watching the people living their lives in this village is fascinating. Every person has a story to tell and it feels like a little secret that they are keeping from you. This is what makes it so interesting.

Finally, we arrived at the Shaman’s house. Lisu people differ from local Thais both in their language and belief. They originate from Tibet and believe in spirituality. At first, the stories seemed like old fairytales from the past to me. The shaman told me how spirits came into his body and changed him – his language, actions and voice – makes me believe that there must be something true about it.

This culture is just so different to ours and there are so many things to learn about it.

I am so happy to be able to stay here for 1 more month to understand their traditions and way of thinking. Being here so close to the purity of life and nature, in the north of Thailand, makes me want to adopt the easy-going and laid-back lifestyle of the Lisu people. I believe that this is a very important part of our lives that many people in big, industrialized and civilized cities forget about.