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by Krzysztof Pierzgalski
Muang Ngoi Neua is a small Laotian village on the left side of the River Nam Ou. At the northern end of the settlement there is a Buddhist temple. Every day before the sunrise, a strike on the gong announces the start of a ritual in which Buddhist monks set out to collect alms. Their barefoot march is accompanied only by prayerful singing. The received gifts, mainly sticky rice, will be used to prepare meals. In return, graces will flow onto the heads of the men and women making their offerings, and the holy water poured out will provide some merit to the dead as well. In February 2018, road reconstruction works crept into the traditional rite turning that orange beaten tract into a sizeable muddy puddle.