As part of a spiritual workshop, Jean and Adele took a field trip with two Cambodian students (Kimthy and SamBean) to remote hidden pagodas and holy sites around the central lake of Cambodia, Tonle Sap. The villagers live off the water, and live on the water. Babies grow up on verandas of floating homes. Children takes canoes or boats to school. The local market is a floating structure.
This was at the start of the dry season, when all sources of income dry up for these villages.
In November the lake reaches its maximum size as it rises as much as 15 feet (3 meters) above its dry-season level. Villagers who live on the banks of the lake build their houses high enough to accommodate the rise in water levels. The annual monsoon coincides to cease around this time of the year. As the Mekong River is at its minimum flow around this time of the year and its water level falls deeper than the Tonle Sap Lake, the Tonle Sap River and surrounding wetlands, waters of the lake’s basin drains via the Tonle Sap River into the Mekong. As a result, the 115-kilometre-long (71 mi) Tonle Sap River flows six months a year from southeast (Mekong) to northwest (lake), and six months a year in the opposite direction. The mean annual reverse flow volume in the Tonle Sap is 30 km3, or about half of the maximum lake volume.