Moken Village Update – One Month After
The first houses are finished. A team of soldiers has been staying in the bay with the Moken, and together they have been working hard every day in the burning sun. The National Park has kindly been providing three hot meals a day for over a month now.
At the moment there is a construction pause, as people wait for more material to be delivered. The village is a massive construction site with 60 skeletons that will soon be houses. The village is being rebuilt in a similar layout as before the fire, with three long rows of houses along the bay and a short row in front of the bathroom. There are, however, several changes:
- The walkways between the rows of homes are broader than before, a good thing for fire prevention.
- The houses in the rows are much closer together than before, the roofs are now touching one another, creating a new fire hazard.
- All the houses look exactly the same. This may change later as people add their individual styles to each home.
- The stilts are shorter than before. Before one could comfortably stand under the house, hang up laundry, hang out in the shade, store stuff and do manual work. Now this wont be possible.
- The houses in the front row have their entrance towards the ocean. Before the entrance was towards the walk-way.
- The width of the houses was originally planned for three meters. After further discussion they extended to 5 meters. For some reason when they constructed the houses they left the stilts at three meter distance. So now instead of having the stilts at the corner of the houses, they are now inside the house – one meter away from the wall.
There is no room to expand the houses, as the place has been divided up evenly. Families naturally grow and even expand to new houses. With the space so neatly divided, the Moken hope that the National Park will keep their word to discuss use of the entire bay for the village in the near future. If they moved every third house it would decrease the danger of fire spreading and it would give enough room to each house to expand with growing families. With a group effort, and no extra materials, it would take the Moken two days to move a house to the other side of the bay.
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