Moken Village Fire Update
There is still time to make a donation to help the Moken
We are happy to announce that the Moken have moved into their new homes, just in time for their yearly Labong Ceremony. The traditional Labong ceremony was held the third week in April and lasted for a few days. Days were filled with offerings, traditional music, dance and celebration. The Moken built one new spirit pole and celebrated for three days, asking their ancestors for luck within the next year. It was a joyous occasion to see our close friend, one Moken village elder, Sabai singing traditional music with her faithful husband Tat by her side playing the drum. After the fire, Sabai said she did not have the heart to sing until the houses were built and was worried that they would not be done in time for the Labong ceremony, which is when her singing is used an an instrument of celebration. With the Labong ceremony over and the Moken moved into their homes, it is time to start looking towards the needs of the coming months.
The Moken are already beginning to make the new homes their own, by adding kitchen space, sun covers and living areas under the houses. But there is much more that needs to happen to ensure that their basic needs will be met during the upcoming monsoon season. Our colleague had a meeting with the village headman Ngeiuy to discuss the next actions to be taken to ensure that the Moken are well equipped for the monsoon season that will soon be bringing heavy winds and rain. Typically, the Moken work for income and at their occupations for six months, in accordance with Koh Surin National Park being open for tourism. They sell handicrafts in the village, work at the National Park or drive long tail boats for the speedboat companies. They save their money during this time and use it to buy food and materials needed for the six months of monsoon weather. However, this year, the Moken lost all of their savings in the fire and will need help getting through this monsoon season. With North Andaman Network Foundation money, we have already purchased energy efficient and weather protected lighting for each household in the village. Ngeiuy will be making a final list next week to take notice of donations that have been made and what is still needed to ensure the Moken are able to comfortably survive the monsoon season. Our North Andaman Network Foundation will be responsible for supplying these materials by the second week of May, before the National Park closes and we no longer have boat access. Our goal is to ensure that they have all the basic necessities to comfortably get through six months of monsoon weather. We are so grateful to all donations that have been made to ensure we are able to be with the Moken all the way to the end, ensuring they are equipped with everything they need.