The nine hamlets of Lat village (pronounced ‘lak’) are 12km north of Dalat at the base of Lang Bian Mountain. Only five of the hamlets are actually Lat; the residents of the other four are members of the Chill, Ma and Koho tribes, each of which speaks a different dialect. Traditionally, Lat houses are built on piles with rough plank walls and a thatched roof. The people here eke out a living on 300 hec-tares of land, growing rice, coffee, black beans and sweet potatoes.
Economics have forced many villagers into producing charcoal, a lowly task often performed by Montagnards. Before 1975 many men from Lat worked with the Americans, as did many Montagnards elsewhere. Classes in the village’s schools are conducted in Vietnamese rather than tribal languages. Lat has one Catholic and one Protestant church. A Koho-language Bible (Sra Goh) was published by Protestants in 1971; a Lat-Ianguage Bible, prepared by Catholics, appeared a year later. Both dialects are quite similar and are written in a Latin-based script.