Because today started early, out of bed by 5:00 am, out the door by 5:25, I am posting a morning segment and then I will post again
this evening. I will begin with my experience at the Can Tho Floating Market in the Mekong Delta.
My mosquito-repellent covered legs stick to the vinyl upholstered boat seats. I peel myself up, lean over the boat’s edge and
notice the clog of boats up ahead. Finally, we have reached the floating market! My senses explode with smells of boat motor exhaust overtaking smells of sweet pineapple. The boat motor idles with a
loud but water-muffled chug…chug…chug…. I take in the sights, fully aware that what I am taking in is only a fraction of what is actually before me. Boats weave among one another. Gliding
next to another without the slightest concern of colliding. Large quantities of goods (fresh fruit and vegetables) are methodically and carefully tossed from boat to boat. Right before my eyes an important part of this developing country’s economy is at work.
The key word here is “developing” as I also notice the oil-streaked river water, and the floating plastic bags, papers and straws,
with the occasional Styrofoam-net wrapped small fruit, all littering the river. The same river from which babies are bathed. The same river which provides drinking, cooking and cleaning
water. The quiet boat ride back up the river gave me time to reflect on yet another item on my list of things I take for granted. This morning I am thinking about water. How we depend upon water and
how important it is to have clean water. I know water is a common topic in the science curriculum for American children. Water is fought over between the drought-stricken southern Nevada and the wet
agricultural fields of central Nevada. But, water is an issue that I seldom consider. Clean water flows through the pipes of my home, hot or cold, at a moments desire, and every day I take this for
granted. I know it may seem trite to write about the importance of water, but after noticing an elderly women walk to a perched small deck, well above the water level of her boat, and then
surprisingly realizing this area was a toilet feeding directly to the river, I’m overtaken by thoughts of what it means to be
in a developing country, and the importance of clean water.
To say visiting the floating market provided a mind-boggling rush of emotion, reflection, and stimulation to the senses would be an understatement.