At the time of this photo, my grandmother was sick. A witch doctor was invited to make an offering for her and the family to be safe and healthy. In the photo, the witch doctor is praying. The witch doctor was picked up from Chiềng Nơi commune, 30 kilometres from here.
In the village there is also a witch doctor, but he is not capable. An egg was put in a small bowl. If it didn’t fall down, according to our beliefs, the witch doctor would successfully cure the patient. The village witch doctor couldn't prevent the egg from falling down, so the doctor in Chiềng Nơi commune was picked.
My grandmother was sick because the dead people were starving and sending their souls to come back and claim her. Therefore, a pig was sacrificed to make them full and stop asking. Two or three days after the offering, she really got better.
The pork was shared by the whole family. The witch doctor was given a head and a leg to worship with at his house. After he returned home, the host family had to stay in the house for a day without going out, and other people were not allowed in.
During the meal, the children shared food on a separate tray and the daughters-in-law had a meal on a separate tray as well. The daughters, uncles and aunts shared the same tray as the witch doctor. He was given 300,000–400,000 dong (13–17 US dollars) as a token of appreciation by the family.
Narrator: Sồng A Chứ (Hmong, 25 years old)
Photographer: Sồng A Hịa (Hmong, 27 years old)