floating village in Cambodia

April 5, 2011 | Emily, DVM Program, Intern, Cambodia Fishery Action Coalition Team

Hello Everyone,

Since this past week I spent in Kbal Toal village, I thought it was a good time to post a blog. It was an incredible experience. I am working for an organization FACT (fisheries action coalition team). A main component of the organization is doing research in rural fishing communities. For this particular research project I assisted Puthea, with his research. We left Phnom Penh early in the morning for the long voyage ahead. First we took a bus to Siem Reap, and then from there took a boat across the Tonle Sap Lake until we reached the village. We loaded onto the fishing boat that was dropping off the fish supply being sold to the market.  

Once we arrived we were greeted by many community members and sat to join in on drinks and freshly grilled fish. We continued drinking and eating and Karaoke and traditional dancing began. Everyone was very excited and joined in, so I followed along and couldn’t sing the karaoke, because it was all in Khmer Language; however I learned several traditional dance moves. As it became late, the man slowly started to head home, they went to their boats and paddled home for the evening.

We rolled out the traditional mats and hung up mosquito nets (which were well needed, as there were so many bugs, we were being eaten alive) and fell asleep to the soft movements of the house rocking back and forth in the water. Before I went to bed, I took a moment, all the generators had been turned off, and I went to the edge of the house, and dipped my feet in the water, tried to take it all in, the bright glowing moon, and cool but refreshing water and how this was the life for so many people in Cambodia, living on the water. For me is was exciting and new, but for the people living there, life is very hard, and they are so dependent on the fish, any change in the system will have huge impacts on their lives.

The week I spent in Kbal Toal village, as well as the other villages I visited while in Cambodia were worth every minute of it, as 80% of Cambodian people live outside the city thus until you have been to a village, you have not truly experienced Cambodia.

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