People of the Ocean, Berta Tilmantaite

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When the baby is born we don’t need a doctor. Everything happens here, on the boat. We don’t have any medicine. We cannot go to the hospital, we’re just staying here for the birth. And mother takes care of the baby,” – says Bungsali, an old looking man, who doesn’t know his age. He spent the whole life on the boat and wants his grandchildren to continue his lifestyle.

The Bajau Laut or Sama Dilaut, also known as sea gypsies, are indigenous ethnic group, retaining a seaborne lifestyle. They live in the boats, roaming in between the Coral Triangle (marine waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) or settle in small stilt houses, built on the reef or islands. They are traditionally from the Sulu Archipelago in the Phillippines, coastal areas of Mindanao and northern Borneo.

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