The nomadic Moken people in Southern Thailand have lived with and on the sea for centuries. They live on the coast and in their boats all their lives and the children learn to swim before they can walk.
In 2004, the Indian Ocean earthquake and following tsunami took the lives of over 227,000 people, but the Mokens and a few other coastal communities survived with either minimal or no loss of life. How?
The Moken believe that the waves are created by the spirits of the sea, and have alegend about “Laboon – The wave that eats people”. The legend describes how when the spirits are angry, the sea recedes, then a monster wave comes onto the land to eat the bad people and cleanse the land.
The elders had passed their story down through generations, and in December 2004, those who knew the legend saw the change in the sea, saw the dolphins swimming to deeper water and followed the elephants to higher ground. Even more importantly, they convinced others to follow them despite being called crazy or even ‘drunk’ in some cases.
The Sea Gypsies escaped the Tsunami because
- Within the tribe, they knew the signs.
- They believed in their own knowledge and convinced others to believe.
- And they took action.
It is an amazing story and fascinating to think of the knowledge and power contained within stories and legends as well as the impact the leaders can have in society when they take action.
Have an awesome week and remember to pass on your stories to those who follow.