On Lake Chi-kay

On Lake Chikay

On Lake Chi-kay | 2
A girl in Kampong Thom province, Cambodia, sorts through a harvest of water lilies, 29 October 2005. Everyday she and her siblings would boat out to the lake, collect the lilies, remove the flowerheads, and sell the edible stems to market vendors in the village. Her elder sister is shown on left. Lake Chi-kay is one of several seasonal lakes in the village. Besides providing a range of subsidiary foods (which included richer stocks of fish in earlier years), it is useful in other ways. Annually, as the floodwaters recede, they leave behind fertile alluvium that is a natural bounty for growing rice. By this time of the year, it is nearly time to harvest the wet season rice. Barriers are lifted, and access ways opened. As the photo shows, the tops of submerged bushes are already showing. The water flows out into the Stueng Saen (Saen River); in a month, the lake will be drained, and the rice will be harvested. When the wet season comes again the following year, the cycle will start all over again. This is a common phenomenon throughout lowland Cambodia.