In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
The Lisu tribe mostly inhabit the
southern Shan State of Myanmar (Burma), but started to migrate to Thailand in
1921. There are several villages just outside Mae Hong Son, so we hired a driver for half a day to take
us to one.
Just ahead is a short dirt
covered log bridge that must have been washed out during the last rainy season.
Although it is the middle of March, the
leaves on the rutted road give the appearance of an autumn day.
This long winding road would be impassable, soupy mud
during the rainy season.
Forty minutes outside of Mae Hong Son we
arrive at the Lisu village. Their lineage is from Northern Tibet, and their
language comes from a subgroup of the Tibeto-Burman family of languages.
As with many of the hilltribes, they are
tri-lingual. They speak their native tongue, Thai and some English. This woman is in her 50's, and told us
she has 10 children. Here, she is preparing to make another
row of dried leaf shingle for the roof tops of the village houses. Some are
brought to town and sold to the city dwellers of Mae Hong Son.
At 20, this daughter's own baby is in a
carriage behind her as she
weaves the split bamboo thread through each leaf. Rows of completed leaf shingles are
piled up to the right.
Meticulously, she stacks the leaf shingles in rows.
You can see inside the split bamboo
house with its dirt flooring and more bamboo interior walls.
An outside view of another hill tribe
home with the leaf shingles in place, held down by bamboo poles.
This roof has probably already seen a
season or two.
Somehow there is money for a community
children's bicycle. Still in its protective plastic wrap, the brand new bicycle
provided a great time for these kids.
Shy boys smile by their father's parked
The split bamboo walls behind them allow the
breeze to blow through the house, wanted or not.
Conscious of their heritage, the word
Lisu means culture person. They make their living out of hunting and cultivating
crops, and Father is preparing to go hunting now. His arrow
has a rubber sling mechanism at the bottom, and a 4 pronged metal spear at the
He was sharpening the metal prongs
before this photo.
This woman was weaving her leaf shingles
before we walked up to her home. Upon seeing us, she pulled out her handiwork to
sell to us.
I always marvel at how clean they can
keep their work, and such bright colors!
Meanwhile, it's laundry day and
Grandfather is washing some clothing with water from the spigot.
Another close look. The hill tribe folks
were very open and friendly. There was no sense that we had interrupted them.
They seemed to enjoy the company.
It is heartwarming how open and
gentle these people are.
Their native dress is one of the most
colorful of all the hill tribes that span this area of Thailand.
This woman saw me purchasing from
another and came up with her bags of handicrafts to sell.
The Lisu love the brilliant colors!
Appearing out from nowhere, a woman
returns to the village
with her basket of harvested greens.
You can see the machete sticking out at
the back of her basket, and her betel nut stained teeth.
She trudges on to somewhere else in the
A better view of her machete at the back
of her basket.
They invited us in! A wondrous inside
view of a well kept home. Large spacious rooms, compact dirt
floor, clothes on hangers, and a foot pedaled sewing machine to make the
handicrafts. No electricity!
The photo of the
King of Thailand is on both calendars. Although it was hot outdoors, the tall
ceiling made it cool inside. Note that you can see straight through the back
wall to the outside.
A view of the neighborhood.
Rustic, clean, quiet.
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
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