Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gyodong Home of Refugees from the War

Gyodong is an island with a potential for greatness. A bridge is being built that will connect the island with Gangwha and plans have been made to build the world’s largest tidal powered electric plant. When the plant becomes operational –planned for 2015, a 8.3 km long dam will connect four islands: Ganghwa, Gyodong, Seokmo and Seogeom.

Environment groups are opposed for not being useful, and in the process destroying the sand bars. Those in charge of the project agree, there will be some destruction of the environment, but in the long run greenhouse gases will be reduced, the level of the sea will be raised, helping to prevent further destruction of the tidal flats.

Gyodong is the home of many who fled North Korea for freedom during the Korean War. Gyodong their home is only swimming distance away from North Korea, when the tide is out.

This morning a photographer and reporter from the Catholic Peace Broadcasting Station and Newspaper were here to interview members of the congregation, refugees, who have made their home in Gyodong. Each gave an account of their history, with many tears; many pictures were taken. After the discussion, the group went out to a point overlooking North Korea, where a monument was erected with the names of many who left their homes, most from Hwanghaedo. More pictures were taken and more remembrances of their long lost homeland.

This influx of refugees from North Korea has developed the island, the 14th largest island in Korea. In the old days they said the rice produced in Gyodong could feed the whole of Incheon for 5 years. The islanders have suffered a great deal, forced to leave their homes and making Gyodong their second home. The future will be materially prosperous, there will no doubt be a change in the simple ways of the inhabitants and great development, hopefully not all detrimental to the old Gyodong life. Adversity has made them strong and independent, it has been a blessing to work with the Catholics as their pastor.

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