I set out early in the morning to explore the northern region of Vietnam near the Chinese border called Lao Cai. A few hours later I found myself deep in the hills enclosed by dense fog so thick that I couldn't see more than 5ft in front me. Soon enough, I started to become very disoriented and began to lose my sense direction. I started to feel a sense of panic deep in the pit of my stomach. I stood still, closed my eyes and tried to calm myself. I let the fog engulf me into a white space of nothing. Lost in this white abyss I began to hear something in the distance that sounded like a soft drum pounding at a steady pace. At first I thought it was my own heartbeat echoing through the white void. I followed the faint rhythm until it lead me to a group of villagers that seemed as if they were in the midst of some sort of celebration. Without starling them, I slowly began taking photos of them in trance like state. They were suspicious at first but as I began to form a friendly relationship with the village children and they let down their guards. I started to become a part of celebration and as more rice wine flowed through it became very festive. As I started to inquire what the celebration was for, villagers began wailing with emotional outbursts. They began weeping uncontrollably. Several men from the village brought in a makeshift wooden coffin and I soon realized that I was in the midst of a funeral. The emotional wave that quickly turned somber was so extreme that I lost my bearing. Villagers would communicate to me that the mountainous region they inhabited was prone to car accidents due to horrible road conditions and thick fog. They explained to me that several of their fellow villagers were killed while traveling from one region to the next. They bodies were finally returned to their village and a celebration was held in their honor.
The Black H’mong are an ethnic minority that are scattered in the highlands of North Vietnam, near the Chinese border. They live in a mountainous region that has been infamous for car accidents due to horrible road conditions and thick fog. In early 2006 several villagers were killed while traveling from one region to the next. Their bodies were taken back to their villages and a celebration of their life was held in their honor.