Kampong Phluk ‘floating’ village.
Courtney Esson shares her photographs and reflection on the lives of the people of Kampong Phluk, ‘the floating village’, Cambodia.”To create a connection to the lifestyle of local people, I prefer to travel out of the cities and into rural towns to get a taste of local flavor. In the village of Kampong Phluk, locals live in wooden houses built on high stilts along the rivers. Locals learn to operate colorful boats at a young age to adapt to living on floodplains. Taking a boat through the village offers an insight into the hardships and adversity locals face daily.”
“I felt intrusive watching people’s lives unfold as they washed, cooked and worked out in the open waters. I felt transported to a new world. A reality so vast from my own where I am fortunate enough to live with running water, have easy access to food and education. Among the maze of floating houses and an array of boats a culture, where providing for the family is the utmost importance, reflected a daily grind of hard work and long hours for basic living needs. Senior women and young children can be seen piloting Mekong boats, transporting goods and catching fish along the river. But among the chaos of crossing boats, locals waved joyfully towards the small groups of tourists come to experience their way of life. Despite their extreme poverty their kindness and candidness were humbling.”
“I took these images to show the real challenges I could see faced by locals but also the feelings of strength and resolution that keeps a culture going, reflecting the resilience of the Khmer people.”