Hannah S. is currently a junior at SYA China and a blogger for our Campus Reporter Program. She comes to SYA from Polytechnic School (CA). Read more of her work throughout the year here.
Recently, we returned from a two-week long trip to Yunnan, a province in Southern China. The highlight of my stay in Yunnan was a nightlong homestay in a rural village. The village was the home of an ethnic minority group called the Lahu, and while we were there, I was able to gain an insight into a culture I didn't even know existed.
When we arrived at the Lahu village, we got a chance to wander around and explore. The village was filled with livestock and animals; the home in which we stayed was actually directly above a pigsty! The people in the village were incredibly friendly. They all seemed excited to host us, and were eager to discuss the differences in our cultures.
After a delicious dinner, which was made by the Lahu, we got the opportunity to watch some traditional Lahu songs and dances. The villagers got all dressed in their ceremonial garb, and danced in circles around a huge bonfire. When asked to perform an American dance, we deliberated for a while before deciding upon the "hokey pokey". As we began dancing, we called the Lahu children to join us; by the end of the dance, almost all of the village children were doing the hokey pokey with us. It was both hilarious and heartwarming.
As evening turned to night, the party broke up. We had to leave the adorable village children with whom we had been playing and move into our host homes. I fell asleep to thoughts of the strange and incredible night I had just had.