Impressive ancient village Kon K’Tu

The car took us across the poetic Kon Klor suspension bridge like a “giant hammock” across the legendary Dak Bla river towards Kon K’Tu village (Ba Na ethnic group), located east of Kon Tum city. about 8km. The scenery beside the mountains and rivers is charming and captivating, drawing visitors into the immensity of the fields of corn, potatoes, and cassava mixed with the dark green of the forest trees running up to the mountains in the distance. Looming in that forest are the proud Dragon roofs as if they are yearning to reach the sky or want to get closer to the supernatural to pray for protection…?!

Although the road leading to the village was only 20 minutes, we saw many interesting things. What is the scene of ox carts carrying the fruits of labor such as corn and cassava back to the village, sometimes on the cart there are whole families or friends sitting around as if enjoying a moment of relaxation after a day of hard work? fig. Or the feeling of floating halfway up the mountain with winding roads and right below is the scene of people returning home from work on dugout canoes floating lazily like tiny leaves in the middle of a green river…

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Women and children of Kon K’Tu village go to the river to bathe, wash and fetch water.

While admiring the poetic scenery, the car gently stopped at the end of the paved road. We arrived at the ancient village of Kon K’Tu on an early Autumn afternoon with the gentle golden sunlight gradually receding behind the majestic Truong Son range and in the gentle, cool breezes – typical of the Highlands. , blew endlessly from the roof of the towering Rong house and then continuously blew on the group of strangers as if cheering with village elder A Ap and village chief A Kheo welcoming our group to visit, watch the gong performance and rest. in the village tonight.

8.31.8The Rong House of Kon K’Tu Cultural and Tourism Village.

Looking at the proud but no less graceful roof of the Rong house and the stilt houses gathered warmly around the Rong house speaks of the intelligence and talent of the people of Kon K’Tu village who have lived and settled in this place for many generations. Despite experiencing many events such as war and epidemics, the strength of a community that always promotes solidarity and love has helped them gain many valuable experiences to work, produce and maintain. life.

As proof of this, Village Elder A Xep sadly recounted: before 1920, the village was very crowded with people living together happily, but then there was a smallpox epidemic, seeing so many sick people died, so the Those who were still healthy were afraid to leave the village. After a while the pandemic subsided, the survivors returned to their old village but only three small families remained. But they were still determined to rebuild the village and named it Kon K’Tu – meaning original village, abandoned village. From a small village on the riverbank that day there were only three families of about 30 people, but now it has become a crowded village with 110 families and a population of over 700 people, not counting the number of separated households. According to the local population expansion policy, a small village was created, called Kon K’Tu Moi village – about 2km from the original village towards the upstream of Dak Bla river.

Thanks to the meticulous guidance of Gia A Xep, we walked to the end of the village, where there was a small dirt road winding along the shape of the mountain. I heard people say that if we follow this road, we can reach the fields and forests and then cross to Gia Lai province… We stopped at a wide, flat and quite beautiful bend. Always have your camera ready in hand to capture the wonderful moments that only exist in this place, which is the scene of people coming home from work, on every woman’s back there is a lovely basket, containing a handful of vegetables. forest, some snails, a newly scooped fish or fruits and vegetables just picked from the fields to take home for dinner… I’m impressed with the gentle smiles of the ladies and the shy, cute smiles of the village girls. When women caught us holding up the camera, they immediately covered their faces with their hands and said, “I’m ugly coming home from work, don’t take pictures.” But when they heard us talking, they stayed for a while to answer. said and quickly walked up the slope to the village as if afraid that the sun would go to bed early.

8.31.9The young girls are quickly walking back to the village.

We also returned to the village house, tonight the group will sleep at Rong’s house. Looking at the clean, neatly arranged blankets and mattresses in the communal house, I couldn’t hide my surprise. It turned out that the travel company had arranged for Ms. Y Van – who lives near Rong’s house – to take care of this task every time. There’s a group coming.

And it was extremely interesting, not knowing whether it was intentional or not, but before dinner, our group had a volleyball match with young people in the village. As a result, my team lost but it made us proud. Truly exciting, it was truly an unforgettable memory for the group with these boys with tanned skin, healthy skin, toned muscles but very gentle, hospitable and very good football players.

The group’s dinner was delicious and quite special because it was arranged right in the communal house, the food was presented on a brocade towel with typical dishes of the region such as: Lam rice, grilled chicken with salt and chili, fish. Sour slices, stir-fried wild bamboo shoots… and of course, indispensable can wine with sweet and spicy charcoal sticky rice. Our group always passed each other around to try the delicious and strange feeling of drinking wine with a can, while the tour guide introduced many cultural features of the Ba Na and Central Highlands people…

While being fascinated with the typical stories about the indigenous culture, Village Elder A Xep stood up and went to the large gong hanging on the pillar of the communal house, before beating the gong a few times to signal to the villagers and the gong team. When it was time for the gong performance, he did not forget to signal us to cover our ears to reduce that terrible sound.

It was truly miraculous, with just a few sounds of gongs that were probably conventional, just 10 minutes later the gong team was fully present, a few low sounds of gongs rang out in the darkness, it sounded like the sound of a deer. Calling the herd in the deep forest or the echoing sound of the past makes me indescribably excited…

August 31, 2010The gong and sinus teams are performing with tourists.

When they saw that we were ready, they started burning a large pile of firewood piled up in the center of the communal house’s yard. Through the flickering firelight, I saw pretty Ba Na girls in traditional costumes standing in groups of five or seven chatting loudly, occasionally giggling, but I couldn’t understand anything because they were speaking the native language. language, and under the big fig tree, the men were taking the opportunity to repeat the basic ways of playing each gong song to the teenagers and they were all wearing brocade shirts and loincloths in accordance with the traditional style of the Gong. Ba Na people, not like the clothes we see for work or going out on the street every day. More specifically, there were many children and older people who also came to watch the performance. The space of gong culture in the Central Highlands recognized by UNESCO as: Masterpiece of intangible culture and oral tradition of humanity has appeared incredibly perfect… I felt very happy and proud to witness the scene. this special.

When the fire flared up, the jar of wine was put out, and the Ba Na boys and girls approached, somewhere a loud shout of “monh, bar, pieng” – “one, two, three” and other voices were heard. A long howl sounded in unison, sounding wild and echoing the Central Highlands, signaling the start of the night’s activities in the village.

The rhythm of the gong, sometimes drilling and picking, sounds like the sound of flowing water, the joyful shouts of victory, like the gentle folk song of a mother comforting her child or like the narrative of a loving couple exchanging dates. During the moon season… The sound of the gong seemed to bounce off the cliffs and then spread far away with the whispering winds to the dark and quiet forests… And covered the sinuses of the young girls with their gentle, graceful bare feet. Moving, the movements are strangely graceful…

Interspersed between the gong songs, we continued to enjoy the passionate pot of wine with the young women and the flickering fire to dispel the coldness of the forest dew that was seeping into the skin of those who stood still and motionless… After the gong song, we continued to sing and interact with each other many more songs. It was quite late at night, but we were still standing between heaven and earth, chatting endlessly, not wanting to say goodbye, even though we knew that tomorrow we still had to go to the fields.

That night, our group kept awake with regret because tomorrow we had to leave the village, not knowing when we would have the opportunity to meet the innocent, honest people here again. It was too late at night, outside there were only the sounds of insects whispering, dogs barking, roosters crowing in the distance, or the sound of a mother cooing and comforting her child… then the sound of pounding rice very close woke us up. Without anyone telling anyone, our group walked around the village, down a small slope, to the river wharf where there was a wide, flat sandy beach that was probably a place where children often played… before getting on the bus to continue our journey. me.

The car took us back to the winding road on the mountain. In an indescribable mood of sadness, I turned my head through the glass window to look towards Kon K’Tu village, only seeing the roof of the Rong house flickering under the first rays of sunlight. The sun’s rays have just risen in the East and are gradually dispelling the thin mist from the trees and grass. The cool, sweet, gentle feeling of the morning is so pleasant. I inhale my chest as if trying to hold on to these wonderful moments and silently promise to return to the ancient village of Kon K’Tu one day soon./.

Article and photo: Tuong Lam

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