After a full day spent in the hot sun touring the temples of Angkor Park, I was spent. Low on energy and not really feeling like walking around temples in the rain, I sought something else to do. Luckily, I made friends with some travelers from Vancouver at my hostel in Siem Reap and one of them recommended going to the floating village at Tonle Sap Lake.
The people living at the floating village near Siem Reap called Chong Kneas, depend on the lake for their livelihoods. I doubt that they see any of the $20 USD that each traveler pays to take a tour of their floating village; similar to how doubtful it is that any of the money going to enter Angkor Park actually goes back to the people who live in Siem Reap. But I digress.
The floating village is poverty but poverty as we see it in the Western world. Despite what our definition is, what I saw at the village were families who were still together; people who knew their neighbors; a village that made sure no one starved; children who were laughing and who could play in an area bigger than a backyard. Yes, it might be poverty, but I don’t think the people I saw that day were poor. In fact, their lives may be richer than any of ours because they knew family, community and man’s connection to nature.
Following are images I took at Tonle Sap Lake. Today, I decided to edit the photographs and make them black and white. I think the lack of color brings out the village even more, especially the people. Let me know what you think.
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