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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

Boat Ride to Paradise

All 14 of us piled onto two boats for a boat trip around the island on some of the smallest boats imaginable.

I asked the mother of a muslim family and her husband, the boat driver, what it was like to live on the island. To my surprise, she responded that she and her family of six lived on the small boat. They would travel the Mekong River to find where the most fish were at the time. They kept four birds for companionship as pets.

I was amazed at the fact that six people and their animals could live on the boat without getting everything wet, and having a dry place to sleep under the shelter overhead, which only covered one-third of the already small boat. I wondered where they would go to practice their religion. Were there any mosques around in Cambodia if it is a minority religion.

We ended the boat ride on the beach, watching the sky change from blue to yellow, orange and pink. We leapt for joy, sitting in paradise. And I couldn’t help but think what a privilege it was for us to be here, meanwhile there are so many families struggling. Children having to quit school in order to work in far away cities to provide for the family’s income.