Living on Water: Stilted Villages

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April 7, 2010
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  Kompong Phluk is a village of around 100 stilted homes, located on one of the northern-central tributaries of the Tonle Sap lake.  Meandering along the waterway through the village, I watched as men dried fish on mats, women collecting throngs of pink shrimp, and children playing a game of tag while balancing on their boats.
    Kompong Phluk is a village of around 100 stilted homes, located on one of the northern-central tributaries of the Tonle Sap lake. Meandering along the waterway through the village, I watched as men dried fish on mats, women collecting throngs of pink shrimp, and children playing a game of tag while balancing on their boats.
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  The name, Kompong Phluk, means ‘harbor of the tusks’ in Khmer.  It is primarily a fishing village, with most of its residents engaging in shrimp harvesting.
    The name, Kompong Phluk, means ‘harbor of the tusks’ in Khmer. It is primarily a fishing village, with most of its residents engaging in shrimp harvesting.
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  Flooded mangrove forests surround Kompong Phluk, an integral habitat for the fish that make up the livelihood of the thousands who live on the lake.
    Flooded mangrove forests surround Kompong Phluk, an integral habitat for the fish that make up the livelihood of the thousands who live on the lake.
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  The entire area is home to around 3,000 people, and Kompong Phluk extends to encompass a stilted commune of three more nearby villages.
    The entire area is home to around 3,000 people, and Kompong Phluk extends to encompass a stilted commune of three more nearby villages.
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  I was lucky enough to be visiting during the dry season, when water levels in the lake are lower and all of the stilted structures below the living areas are revealed.  Many families use the lower areas for storage during the dry season, putting aside fishing nets and cookingware, or hanging clothes to dry.
    I was lucky enough to be visiting during the dry season, when water levels in the lake are lower and all of the stilted structures below the living areas are revealed. Many families use the lower areas for storage during the dry season, putting aside fishing nets and cookingware, or hanging clothes to dry.
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  This is one of the many floating fish farms that you can see scattered throughout the village, tethered to the trees or a fisherman’s home.
    This is one of the many floating fish farms that you can see scattered throughout the village, tethered to the trees or a fisherman’s home.
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  The small tributary eventually broadens to become the sweeping Tonle Sap lake, the largest inland body of water in Southeast Asia.  During the fishing season, one can always see many small fishing boats punctuating the seemingly infinite ocean landscape.
    The small tributary eventually broadens to become the sweeping Tonle Sap lake, the largest inland body of water in Southeast Asia. During the fishing season, one can always see many small fishing boats punctuating the seemingly infinite ocean landscape.
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