21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
A woman rowing a canoe in the mangroove forest

This mangrove forest is located in the northeast part of Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia. It is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the most diverse and productive ecosystem in the world. The lake and its surroundings are vastly inhabited by communities making their living from what the lake has to offer. That includes fishing, farming, transportation and wide range of tourist attractions like rowing through the mangrove forest. Traditionally all of those activities were handled by men until 2020 and men had to leave in search for jobs outside of Tonle Sap area. During that time women took over all the work men used to do and it partially stayed that way. Now a dozens of canoes approaches the pier in searching for passengers and all of them are operated by women. I find it symbolic in a way to capture this single change that the crisis of pandemic brought to this little piece of the world. Cambodia was one of the last countries to reopen after all the lockdowns and will be probably one of the last to recover.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2023
Date Uploaded: 11.2023
Photo Location: Cambodia
Copyright: © Aleksandra Bankowicz