The Hmong are an Asian ethnic tribe in the mountainous region of Sapa, Vietnam, speaking in Hmong rather than Vietnamese.
A wonderfully kind and friendly community meant I was immediately greeted by smiling children playing and washing their hair in an ice cold waterfall – of which I was invited to join in with. While there is a school in the village, education is by no means a priority as crafts and tourism is a high-income stream. While it is clear the children do love to learn, there is less of a demand for education than the Western world, as to get by in a village tribe learning practical skills is more important to earn a living.
Rice fields surround the village and each family that grow and sell rice have a small patch of land that they crop themselves, after this they grind the rice on a machine that they all share. In order to collect firewood to cook, the villagers must trek up and down the mountain, carrying the firewood back to the village on their backs. 'Mama Chu', a fiercely independent mother of three carries 50 kilos of wood, which is more than her bodyweight!
I was privileged to be invited to stay with Mama Chu and her generous family.