Saturday, December 4, 2010

Respecting Traditions

This is our first time with Internet access since Tuesday. Soooo much has happened since then. Here are some of the highlights:

We spent Tuesday in Kohima. In the afternoon, Theja and Mele brought us to meet the most renown Master Woodcarver in Nagaland. Leptum, a third-generation woodcarver, and his wife, Sashi, welcomed us warmly into his backyard studio where he was carving the new gates to village of Mopongchucket, the Ao village that we had visited the day before. He invited me to climb up onto one of the panels and carve with him. As if that wasn't terrifying enough (seeing that the last thing I carved was my initials into a table in high school, my job was the "make the bamboo stalk round". We went into the house for tea afterwards, at which time he sang, gave us life advice, and told us great stories about the weeks that he slept by himself in the jungle while carving the tree (seen in one of the other blogs). A snake approached him...the same snake that created the lake in the village. Rather than be afraid, he dressed in all of his traditional warrior clothing and returned to the jungle. The snake approved and allowed him to continue making the sculpture for the village. Leptum left us with the following questions: The first one was, "What do you expect from this world?" The third one was, "What are you going to give?" I can't remember the second one right now. I wrote it down somewhere...I'll edit this once I find it.

Other observations:

* There are roosters everywhere. Naga roosters start "cock-a-doodle-dooing" at 3:30am.

* We have tea 4-5 times a day. Every time we meet a new person, we all sit down and have tea. Each time we change environments, we all sit down and have tea. As soon as we get up and just before going to sleep, we all sit down and have tea.

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