11/9/2008 to 12/23/2008 | India , Nagaland

Shiyong Village, Mon District, Nagaland

legacy gallery with captions

Phejin’s village of Shiyong is in the Mon district of Nagaland home to the Konyak tribe.  Traditionally in the Konyak men were required get a face tattoo at the time of adulthood.  The practice was long abandon and now only a few of the older men have the traditional face tattoo of a Konyak warrior, among them Phejin’s Grandfather.   It was a relaxing time hanging out in the village.  The social room of a Naga house is the kitchen.  In the evenings villagers walk between houses having black unsweetened tea or rice beer (an alcoholic drink made by passing warm water through fermented rice) in the kitchen of their neighbor’s house.  The Konyak kitchen has a fire in the middle which is often surrounded with stools for sitting.  Above the fire is place for smoking meat a staple of the Naga diet.  After living out of guesthouses it was nice to be in a home again.  The meat is always fresh and after witnessing the slaughter and cleaning of a pig I was able introduce the family to the American tradition of barbeque ribs.  I gorged myself on ribs having not had pork since I left China, and not had barbequed ribs for almost two years when I left the States.  I also killed my first chicken.  I guess I feel if you’re going to eat meat you should be able to stomach the whole process of where it comes from.  It doesn’t come from a Styrofoam container in the supermarket.  I ended up continually extending my stay, thanks to Phejin’s gracious hospitality, until I was finally forced to leave since despite my 10 year visa to India I am required to leave the country every six months and by the time I left I had three days to make it to the Bangladesh border.

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