“There are so many interesting things about the past but I don’t know where to start.”

“In the past… I had to walk bare foot, we did not have shoes. Thorns didn’t matter to us! Our original clothes were made of the “múa” tree bark. It is very to find that type of tree now. I know how to make the shirt. I used to have one a few years ago, but the mice ate it.”

A Díp is from the Xơ Đăng ethnic group living in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He is one of the village elders, and the retired village chief. Trinh and I sat down with him on a number of occasions learning about his way of life and culture.

“In the past, we did not have metal pots like today. We used the clay ones. People caught frogs in April or May, then dried them, after that they exchanged the frogs for clay pots with the Ba Na ethnic group (a neighboring ethnic group).”

“People collected rocks, and burned the “Mem”- iron… to make knives. You have to use special rocks. Normal rocks do not work. Only old people know how to choose the rock. I have one and I have been using as a sharperner for my knives for more than 20 years. It is still good.”

A Díp, 79 years old
Tơ  Dra (Xơ Đăng) Ethnic Group
Kon Tum, Vietnam

Researching a bit at the local museum we discovered more information about the ironwork of the Xơ Đăng ethnic group. “Xo Dang people have been fairly famous for their traditional ironwork….the Xo Dang people have taken advantage of the available iron ore and coal sources in the area….According to researchers, Xo Dang people are proud to be one of the leading ethnic groups in the traditional ironwork in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.”

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