When ethnic villages, previously isolated, get absorbed by urban sprawl, the westernised way of living takes over the ancestral local traditions. I thought this was the case when I met the Ma for the first time in 2014 where I couldn’t find any village with a costume. But in May 2017, I crossed a local woman in her 40’s who was eager to make me discover her culture and more genuine villages. She asked me to capture our encounter, and proof of the omnipresence of the modern world even in ethnic groups, she told me to send the picture via facebook, that she checks on her weekly visit in town. After, she took me to a remote village where I met K’ Măng, one of those beaming woman with limitless energy and brilliant humour. “ Take care of yourself for the next years” I said, while going away. She then ensured me that she’ll wait for me to be back, to die. Few hours earlier, she mischievously handed me her birth certificate revealing her venerable 103 years!
The white Ma costume has been replaced with a black version with bright details, but there is almost none left. The parents, in awareness of the decline of their traditions, teach their culture and language to their children.