Sunday, July 22, 2007

Life Around Tonle Sap Lake

Tonle Sap, the combined lake and river system is of huge importance to Cambodia. It is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.
Millions of people live on the floodplain around the Tonle Sap and there are a few hundreds floating villages on the lake itself.
Fishery is the dominant activity for the villagers of Tonle Sap. In fact, the lake system is one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world.
For most of the year the lake is a fairly small lake, only around one metre deep.
During the monsoon season, however, the Tonle Sap river which connects the lake with the Mekong river reverses its flow.
Water is pushed up from the Mekong into the lake, increasing its depth to up to nine metres, flooding nearby fields and forests. The floodplain as the results of the pulsing system provides a perfect breeding ground for fish.
Many kids were seen loitering everywhere. Many sell bananas hoping to earn some money. Please buy my bananas ! All they could say was the same "One dollar" and stuck out their pointer as indication.
During April, it was extremely hot out there in the lake. The kids looked very tanned and dark. I am sure it is hard life out there.
Foreign tourists were also approached quickly by beggar kids, hoping to get tips (money). According to our tour guide, these poor kids were Vietnamese.
Some of the kids used just small basins to paddle around to ask for money. It was sad sight that to see this kid has one lost limb.
The children go to a floating school nearby. It is good to see that at least these kids are given some sort of education despite the poor living conditions. But the school isn't big enough to accommodate all of them.
Some of these schools are often funded by foreign governments like Korea, Japan, etc. Seen here is a floating caged basketball court as above.
Initially I felt pity. It was a mixed feeling. I gave some of them money.

There is a great chance to volunteer, plenty of programs - an opportunity to participate in meaningful community service.

Check this site : Volunteer Abroad


Eddie said...

touching indeed. :-p
i wish i can go to see the place.

Lee Ai Ling said...

A hard life indeed. Thanks for the link about the Volunteer program.

Lene said...

You're blessed to have such opportunity. I'm sure it's a life-changing experience for you.

And it's always something to remind me to always be grateful for the kind of life I have.

zbjernak said...

i was expecting to see the defacto image of tonle sap, kids in basin....

but i saw none...

nevertheless you are right, people living around the tonle sap lake are among the poorest in the world.

but among the pain and hard life, i do find the kids enjoying themselves on the lake...leaping and swimming around....


travelphilippines said...

Hohhot i have watched the episode of living asia channel about that river. and it started to be come pulluted. i hope they can save it.