In May 2016, I had the opportunity to meet the Brâu. It took me 2 days to get to the village, which was one of the poorest I’d seen. There were hardly any men in the village and the youngsters couldn’t share much information about their culture with me. The Brâu traditionally wear heavy jewellery that strains their ears to create long, large, hanging earlobes. They use ivory or wood depending on their level of income. According to Brâu custom, youngsters who reach the age of puberty have the four front teeth of their upper jaw evenly filed. This is considered a coming of age ritual. The Brâu also used to have their bodies tattooed. I was told that all the people who had their faces tattooed, had sadly already died. Disappointingly, no one in the village makes the costume anymore. I left this village feeling quite sad but also inspired to tell their story.
In 2018, I came back to give the book on which his picture appears to Y An, 76 years old. Surprised and happy, she shared this moment with her family and gave me a beautiful traditional hat she had made. Unfortunately, I was able to see that culturaly the situation had gotten worse, which does not bode well for the Brau.