Silversea Expedition Cruises - Exotic Journeys Focus on "The Journey" - Silver Discoverer Indonesia/Myanmar Expedition: Part VIII (Myanmar - Developing Tourism & Finding Nemo Again) - Travels Blogs

Silversea Expedition Cruises - Exotic Journeys Focus on "The Journey" - Silver Discoverer Indonesia/Myanmar Expedition: Part VIII (Myanmar - Developing Tourism & Finding Nemo Again)

Our journey on the Silversea Expedition's Silver Discoverer cruise through the Mergui Archipeligo continues with arrival off the coast of Pu Nala Island and Bo Cho Village (also referred to as Bo Cho Island and Ma Kyone Galet) where the Myanmar and Thai governments coordinated the ?resettlement? of the Mokan (Sea Gypsy) people. 
Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar
We are some of the first tourists to visit this resettlement; most certainly an exciting and interesting opportunity and experience.  
Bo Cho Village Resettlement of Mokan (Sea Gypsies)That said?

 Mokan houses usually on stiltsA display of dried squidThe rationale apparently is that the Mokans wander between the two countries and also have a number of societal issues (poverty, drug use, etc.), but there is no way to control or assist them.  So the Myanmar government created a new village for them, with their houses being essentially in their traditional form, but with an Italian NGO assisting in providing each home with fresh water and sanitary systems, a school and a community medical center (which consists really of two midwives and not much more?yet.) The story does not end there, however!  

A display of partially built squid trapsThe Mokan aren?t the only people living in Bo Cho, but rather there are five different ethnic groups, with the Mokan living on the beach (as they have traditionally) and the others living more upland and are the ones who run the school and shops while the Mokan continue to fish for squid (as do some of the other ethic groups). The story does not end there either!  Being developed presently is a tourism plan, where people can come to see the Mokans.  A visitor center is coming soon.  I thought this a bit strange.  Are we coming to engage the Mokans or see them on display"  We shall see.

We were met by some very polite and enthusiastic young adults from the community who are learning to be guides.   They are working hard to learn English and to explain the various interesting area of the village such as the Mokan shrines, the Buddhist temple complex, the library and the (show) planation that has one or two of various varieties of local plants/trees.
My guide, Cherry, is the 19 year old librarian for the village.
With one month of English study she did extremely well.
By showing interest, taking it slow and asking questions
it made her more engaged.  By the end of our time she told
her friend to tease me that she wanted me to be her father.
(I, obviously, got special attention!)There was also a very tightly orchestrated and intense singing of the national anthem at the school (with very few, if any, of the school-aged children actually interacting with us) 

followed by a more lighthearted application of the sandalwood makeup many of the locals use.  (It was originally used as sun protection, but now is more for beauty; used mostly by women, but some men as well.)...
Source: Goldring Travel

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