Starting off on a high note, we caught a ride on small skiffs and braved the waters of the Andaman Sea to finally reach the focal point of our adventure, meeting the Moken people.
Our opening ceremonies went off without a hitch as the children sang us songs they had learned from school and surprised us with their memorization of the English alphabet. After the songs, the team performed Cotton Eye Joe and nearly collapsed the building with their sheer numbers and lack of lightness on foot in the newly built school building constructed above the water. We proceeded to sing the national anthem and although many of us are not natural singers we were glad to be able to share a unique part of our culture and history with the children.
Despite the fun that comes with singing and dancing the highlight of the ceremonies by far was when our Youthlinc leaders offered garlands of carnations to the elders of the village. The respect that both gr oups had for each other could be sensed in the air as the elders accepted the garlands and welcomed the team to their island.
Before we departed, we got quite a workout by touring the village in the sweltering afternoon heat and relocating 3 tons worth of sand and rock toward the area of the village where an anticipated generator stand will be constructed. The generator will help transport clean water to the people in the village without having them to move the generator up the mountainside to power the well.
Everything is looking up, and the whole team is excited to get working!