Abaw Daw, the last Akha doctor
It is in the north of Thailand, not far from the Burmese border, that I met Abaw Daw, doctor, priest and counselor, heir to a traditional medicine transmitted by his ancestors or by dreams that he alone can decipher. Its pharmacopoeia range contains more than a thousand plants, roots, bones, meteorites, snake skin, teeth and other mysterious items. Some of those treasured samples are stored in ageless plastic bags,themself stored in iron boxes at the foot of his bed.
For each ailment, its remedy. He keeps everything in mind. No notes, no written traces. One comes from far to visit him, for a stroke, a fracture, a depression or else. Small ailments and some great pains, Abaw Daw heals everything, master of complex formulas taking care of souls and bodies.
He hopes to transmit this knowledge, which is also a true symbol of the Akha people's resistance to a forced assimilation that could make it all disappear.