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Vietnam & Cambodia – making a living

For millennia Mekong delta peoples have learned to live with the water and the abundance as well as occasional destruction it brings.

Nothing goes to waste. Rice is the king of crops grown in three harvests a year. Once harvested, the field becomes a goose or duck farm (fattening them up on the leftover rice) for tasty eggs and meat. The rice stems are used to feed water buffaloes which are the cheap but powerful laborer that plows the fertile soil. the husks go to either feeding fish or get burned for ash as fertilizer for the fields.

An average family aqua farm holds 30000 fish in a cage submerged under the floating house. Sized 18 to 21 feet square and 15 feet deep, there are thousands of such farms along the waterway. It’s either tilapia, cat fish or eel that gets farmed. All leftover veggies, coconut flesh (from young coconut that is used for the water only) get shredded and cooked into a fish meal with rice husks and any other leftover fibers.

Its a cacophony if activities that sustains families with steady income and job security. Fishing is not to be missed either. We were very fortunate to meet a lical fisherman whom showed us how to toss the net in a traditional way.

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