Going to Kon Jo Ray… is remembering!

With a love for nature that is always present and a nature that always wants to explore and discover new things in all regions, especially where we live… This has motivated us to make many trips and Just like that, we recently made a journey to Kon Jo Ray village according to our own experience…

From Kon Tum city, follow Highway 24 for about 10km, turn right for more than 1km to reach Kon Jo Ray village (also known as Kon Ray). The village is quite large and peaceful, a long-standing settlement of the gentle and simple Ba Na people. Rustic tiled stilt houses are interspersed with neat, clean houses not only clustered around the huge Rong roof but also stretching along the small trail down to the river.

6.28.6One of the stilt houses on the small path down to the river wharf in Kon Jo Ray village

If you just come to visit and learn about the life and culture of the village, you can leisurely walk on the shady village streets, talk with people about daily life, as well as stories. joys and sorrows in building villages and hamlets for many generations.

If you want to explore the natural landscape and traditional slash-and-burn farming methods, ask a villager who is familiar with all the large and small trails here to satisfy your desire to explore. on a new land…, and fortunately, our group was welcomed by the village chief, Pa Hong – a person who is very knowledgeable about his people’s culture and of course a son of the village. Growing up right on this land, the trails like “mazes” on rolling hills and mountains were like the palm of his hand. As soon as everyone was ready for a day of hiking, he directed us along a small winding road right behind the village to a flat hill and from there we had a day of exploring. infinite taste.

6.28.7Small trail right behind Kon Jo Ray village

This small trail is the path to the fields of Kon Jo Ray villagers and is a favorite route chosen by Ba Na people in villages in Ha Dong and Ha Tay communes (K’bang district, Gia Lai). every time I go to school, attend festivals with relatives or go to work or go shopping in Kon Tum city… And as if to prove Pa Hong’s introduction, that day our group traveled along the same road. Three male students from Kon Tum Ethnic Minority School visited the village in Ha Dong commune during summer vacation. It was surprising when the children said that to get to the village it took them 3 days to cut through the forest and wade through streams. When they met the village at night, they asked to come in and rest, and then continue on the next morning. Seeing our city residents wondering, one of the children smiled and said: “We’re used to it, we don’t get tired of walking like this, there are 3 of us walking while reviewing stories about when we were kids in the village and it’s also for exercise.” but…”. Through small stories with the children, we admire their courage and optimistic souls who always love the nature of their homeland, mountains and forests, so they chose this route to the village and also for the boys. Young men experience themselves together when they have the opportunity…

Saying goodbye to the children at a turn on the top of a wide, fairly flat hill, we stood and watched until the white shirts disappeared into a young rubber forest about 6 or 7 years old that was starting to harvest latex, which in I still remember the innocent image of three young students. I feel happy when I suddenly think that these people from the mountains and forests will grow up in the future, and in their life’s journey, they will not only have memories of their childhood together. not only their carefree student life but also countless interesting experiences on these winding trails, making them love their village, homeland, and country even more…

6.28.8

The small house on the field is a reserved place

for couples and couples in love.

Just past the lush green rubber forest, terraced fields appeared. We saw a large group of young people preparing the fields for planting. Suddenly, Pa Hong made the whole group roar with excitement when he discovered the special customs in this place. He pointed to the house next to the field and said: “You guys, look at that small house over there, and The huts along the hillside that we passed by are places reserved for couples and boys and girls who “love each other”. In our village, such “living” is only possible in the forest. , only on the fields, not allowed in the village, whoever violates will be punished by Yang…”.

The story made us debate passionately and explain seriously… In our opinion, perhaps the ancient Ba Na people, despite their still backward way of thinking, introduced customs that seemed to unreasonable to prevent unfortunate things from happening to the community…, but I think this is also a beautiful cultural feature, because the crowded secret lifestyle in the past and today many families with many children and many generations still While living under one roof and not having a private room, it is understandable that this custom was established…

And it’s truly poetic if you come across a very endearing, simple image when you see a little girl hanging a hammock to lull her baby under a canopy of cool leaves instead of her parents working in the fields or an old man calmly sitting right on the side of the road, knitting. taking things for themselves, their life looks so peaceful and quiet.

6.28.9

The old man sat sharpening bamboo and weaving baskets right on the side of the road

Life here looks so peaceful.

Our experience route was truly captivating, not only the stories we witnessed and heard, but also a day of direct instruction about all kinds of flowers, fruits, and vegetables in the forest. Pa Hong showed us how to distinguish between some vegetables and fruits that Ba Na people often use as daily food and those that cannot be eaten. Then, sometimes we stopped for a few minutes to inhale the passionate scent of the chestnut flower growing along the road, and used a stone to smash the seeds of the Konia tree to sip, perhaps because we learned about the famous legend of this special tree. especially in the Central Highlands, we felt very happy to be able to see and taste its sweet, fatty seeds… Just like that, we traveled quite a distance without feeling tired. I even felt the group’s excitement when discovering so many strange things in this place…

When the sun was just above its peak, we stopped to have lunch in a hut next to the ravine, on one side was a vast high-yield cassava field stretching down the slopes of the Dak Bla river, and on the other side was a thin, grassy forest. paintings and bushes, I heard the sound of a gurgling stream somewhere, the gentle sound of the wind blowing gently and the sound of woodpeckers pecking at tree trunks steadily in the quiet space, making my eyes squint…

And before preparing to go down to the banks of the Dak Bla River, where dugout boats were waiting to take us downstream back to Kon Jo Ray village along the waterway, Pa Hong pointed at the top of the mountain and said: “If we go At the top of that mountain, you will reach the ancient Kon Ko Xam village – the village of the Ba Na people and the settlement of the French monks (described quite meticulously by Co An – Father Pierre Dourisboure in his autobiography Villagers). lakes (Les sauvages Bahnars)). Now the old vestiges of the village are gone, the villagers have scattered everywhere, maybe they have encountered disasters that traditionally forced them to leave the village, such as: The village caught fire, was destroyed by another village. attacked and maybe most of them were enslaved or the village had many people die unexpectedly or due to epidemics…”.

The above information is quite interesting, it took us back to the old days, when the ethnic minorities here still lived in a deserted, deprived and backward environment, living mainly by hunting and gathering. I’m also afraid that powerful villages will attack just because of a small dispute or they want to rob people of their wealth and enslave people, causing families to be scattered everywhere… Just a little reminiscence like that made me unable to help but feel sad. It’s sad to think back to the not very peaceful life of the Delta people in this land in the past… And happily, their lives today have gradually stabilized, they are being protected, oriented to develop and get rich in the world. their homeland with advanced farming techniques.

While lost in thoughts on the lightly gliding dugout boat, our boat arrived at Kon Jo Ray village after more than 40 minutes downstream. It’s lovely to see children playing noisily on the river wharf, where dugout canoes are tied together, while the other side is freely spread out like a giant fan on the cool water. Stop for ten minutes at the riverbank during the red sunset, chat with the villagers, or observe their daily activities… With peaceful moments like that, you will definitely be nostalgic when you leave the village. inconsolable./.

Article and photo: Tuong Lam

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