aka the 9 Dragons River
It flows across thousands of kilometers through Tibet, China, along Mynamar, Thailand and Laos before reaching Vietnam and Cambodia. Only then does it divide into several arms that shape the Mekong Delta.
At the heart for this growing economic region, can be found Can Tho, a busy exchange marketplace, where most of the country’s food transits. This fertile area produces a variety of edibles such as rice, fish or exotic fruits e.g. pineapple, rambutan, papaya, grapefruit, litchi, mango, guava. Plenty of fruit islands are disseminated in the Delta. Some are only accessible via small boats through a labyrinth of narrow canals. The boatwomen (indeed most of them are women) juggle between the invading mangrove and the numerous plastic bags polluting the river and eventually blocking the engine of their Sampan.
The river is not only a commercial hub, with heavy traffic, hence loud and busy. It is also the lively home of the hundreds of families who are making a living out of the river ecosystem, trading their goods on numerous floating markets spread over the Delta, like the popular Cai Rang or Phong Dien.
Their “home boats” are rustic, with few comfort elements but they are equipped with televisions and phones.
Everything can be found on the River. Siblings and even dogs barely land their feet on the ground, at the exception of special events such as weddings or funerals. This virtuous balance is however threatened. The surrounding industries rejects profoundly harm the river. Fishes are getting harder to catch. On the other hand, massive deforestation turns the once fertile floods into torrents, heavily devastating agricultural fields.
For these populations the 9 Dragons River both brings hope and anxiety.