Another memorable day on our recent trip to Thailand was a visit to a remote sea gypsy community on an island in the southern region. This people group is called Moken, and is a blended culture because of its mixed origin between Thailand and Burma. While they have been somewhat known for many decades, the Mokens gained attention more recently after the tragic 2004 tsunami that affected them as well.
The day began with a several hour boat ride. June was the beginning of the rainy season which made it interesting for traveling both there and back! First we visited a small school where some children within the island’s vicinity were able to attend, but the distance from the water made for difficult, long walks for younger ones. When we arrived at the village, the rain fortunately let up for a couple hours and we were able to walk around to see the people. Of course any community with noticeable foreigners creates curiosity, especially from the younger children. A few of them enjoyed having their picture taken and seeing themselves on camera!
The village did have one small building to be used as an educational facility, and Orphan’s Promise is collaborating with a regional ministry partner to serve with some basic essentials – health and nutrition training, local teachers to help with the preschoolers, and transportation assistance for the other children to be able to go to school without the long walk. Before we left, we got to hear a short song from the children in their language and then OP’s talented Tim Daniell taught a fun echo song in English. It is those kinds of moments that are encouraging, as the words of Jesus from John 14:18 become more real and children are blessed by his promise.