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Teach the hard lessons

Mother and child in Tonle Sap Lake by Jojie Alcantara
Mother and child in Tonle Sap Lake by Jojie Alcantara

Mother and child in Tonle Sap Lake © Jojie Alcantara (click for large view)

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”― Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm

Tonle Sap Floating Village (during dry season), Siem Reap, Cambodia
© Jojie Alcantara, April 2012

In this tour, I’ve encountered many mothers carrying their babies in tiny boats, begging for food, or selling products to tourist boats. It was heartbreaking, seeing some babies crying from the heat of the sweltering sun.  While some were inside makeshift pens and cradles made of cloth, others were exposed to sun, wind and dirty waters, a part of life within the floating community in Tonle Sap.

A combined lake and river system, Tonle Sap river becomes the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia during the monsoon. In 1997 it was designated as a UNESCO biosphere. The river changes its flow direction twice a year and the lake itself expands and shrinks dramatically between the dry and wet season.

During the wet season, Tonle Sap Lake has a surface of 12,000 square kilometers, shrinking to 2500 square kilometers in the dry season.  Tonle Sap is one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world, the fish caught here supporting over three million people.  Tourists come to this area during dry season for a very fascinating boat tour.

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signature jojie alcantara

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