The Moken Sea Gypsies
“The Moken Sea Gypsies are born, live, and die on their boats, and the umbilical cords of their children plunge into the sea,” goes a classic tale of the Moken. As divers and beachcombers, the Moken take what they need each day – fish, molluscs, and sandworms to eat; shells, sea snails, and oysters for barter. They are, without doubt, the masters of the sea, able to make a living from it. They use nets, traps and spears to catch fish and other creatures. They also dive for spear shells, sea cucumbers, and lobsters. What they don’t eat for food, they sell in the markets. Thailand’s Moken have been settled into permanent villages. BGR International volunteers recently participated in the beginning phase of building homes for the Moken Sea Gypsies on the Island of Payam.