February 10-13, 1969

Although the Vietnamese had beautiful architecture, there always seemed to be sections of town that were built from the trash of western civilization. A house made out of pallets and coke cans is better than no house at all, but it still seems sad.

Montagnard House
The Montagnard people were engineers, and their villages were beautiful. Their homes were built on stilts from bamboo and had grass roofs. The village would be surrounded with a bamboo wall. We gave them candy and cigarettes but we had very little stuff they could use.

We tried to give them barbed wire to protect their village but they preferred sharp bamboo sticks. In one village I was amazed with the swinging gate. The top of a bamboo stalk was tied to the gate. When opening the gate it pulled the bamboo. When let go, the bamboo would spring back and close the gate.

Montagnard Shower1
Almost every Montagnard village in our area had a shower near the village that was located on a steep slope. A spring would be dammed up on the hillside to create a pool of water. A 3 or 4 foot strip of bamboo would be split down the middle to form an aqueduct for the water to run through. One end of the bamboo was placed in the pool of water and the other end was braced to be 3 to 4 feet above the ground. The water running out of the end of the bamboo created a constant waterfall to the bamboo mats below that drained to a stream.
Montagnard People

After catching dust all day on top of a track, it was so refreshing to stop by a Montagnard village and take a shower in the evening. I was beginning to get accustomed to this life style. It was neighborly that the whole village would come out to watch us shower. They were appreciative of the soap we left behind.

1Montgnard Shower picture by Sochurek, Howard, National Geographic, April 1968, p453

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Web Page Created 12 Jan 1998
1997 C. Warren Gallion
eMail: wgal@wgallion.com

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