Sea Gypsies

posted by Jan

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The Mokens, also known as the Sea Gypsies, are a tribe of maritime people who live in, and travel to, different islands and the littoral regions of the Andaman Sea. The Moken (around 3,000 people) maintain a somewhat semi-nomadic lifestyle. National boundaries are an unfamiliar concept to them and they travel extensively across the waters of Thailand and Myanmar.

We went to visit one of the islands where some of the Mokens have settled down. It's a bit saddening to see their situation. The place is so filthy as they still don't know how to clean up. We have teams going there to clean up and teach them how to clean up... but they eventually return to their normal habits after a few days. Health has been as issue with them. Although there are cheap health insurance, but no matter how cheap, they still cannot afford them. Or they are not entitled to it. Although they have settled down in the area, they still don't have their identities or citizenship.