“My aunt used to say, ‘a haenyeo leaves her life behind when going to the sea’, meaning that it is dangerous, possibly even leading to death. But I believe my destiny lies in the sea. Every time I dive and go underwater, I feel this is my 'calling’. We hold our breath for a long time, searching for something to catch, and the joy and triumph that come after finding a little abalone or a shell cannot be described in words.
“We do compete, but at the same time, we protect each other and the sea, trying to live in harmony. We do not blindly sweep everything for money. For example, during spawning seasons, we ban ourselves from catching any marine product. “Haenyeo are very strong yet beautiful ladies who know how to live in harmony with nature and others. I wish to pass down this tradition to future generations and, hopefully, restore the precious values my hometown Mara had.”
Excerpted from "Youngest haenyeo preserves Korean women's culture at seashore" by Bo-ra Moon, published in Ewha Voice on 4/12/2013.
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