The Red Shirt protests in Bangkok have filled Kuraburi residents with remorse for the Thai people that are caught up in the struggle. There has been no sign of violence or discord in our calm town, only concern for the seemingly senseless fighting so far away in Bangkok. But the general feeling is that of hope. Hope that the protesters will stop fighting and start loving each other again. Hope that there will be a just and kind end to the turbulence.
This same hope ripples down from parents to their children. During interviews for the Youth Scholarship Program at Andaman Discoveries, children between the ages of 9 and 17 were asked what they would change if they were given the chance. If they could only choose one thing in the world it would be to stop the fighting. These are children that worry about survival, working to help bring in money for the family. On their school holiday, many of them went fishing with their parents to increase their harvest. A simple request from the children stop fighting and love each other again.
And life carries on in spite of the political upheaval in Bangkok. The holiday season in Kuraburi has been much the same this year. Locals and visitors celebrated Songkran as usual. Children played in the streets, throwing water and laughing hysterically. Motorists avoided wet sidewalks in case gangs of giggling kids awaited, water guns in hand. And guests continue to bustle through Kuraburi, celebrating Coronation Day, Visakha Bucha, and Labor Day.
We hope these first-hand accounts serve as a reminder that the North Andaman Coast is far from Bangkok. We strive to serve the peaceful and hard-working communities in which we work, and can only hope that the ill effects of political turmoil do not disrupt our efforts.
Our work at Andaman Discoveries connects responsible tourists with responsible development. Homestays, handicraft cooperatives, and ecotourism are concrete ways that Thai people can work to alleviate poverty and preserve cultural heritage. By supporting Andaman Discoveries, visitors are traveling responsibly and supporting a sustainable way of traditional life. For more information about the work we do in local communities, please visit https://www.andamandiscoveries.com/community-development-projects.php.