Part of the Dream Traveler series
Located in a remote region of Southeast Asia is a village built on water. The guide refers to it as Sea-Land, but No-Man-Land would have been a better name. There is no physical land in this place. Houses (or more precisely huts) are literally built on the overflowing waters. To move from one point to another, the villagers have to swim. While they would have preferred to travel by boats, they are too poor to purchase one.
Fishing is their only source of income. Since fish are found in much deeper waters, the fishermen have to swim multiple miles each day to catch them. The only silver lining is the fact each inhabitant is a natural swimmer; he or she can spend hours in the water without much problem. Still, this low-paying profession is a rather dangerous career. If the fishermen did not return by the end of the day, their families would surely know their fate.
There is no school within proximity of the village and there is a good reason for it. It is unsafe for young children to swim from home to school and back. Also, few teachers (or more correctly no teacher) would want to take a job here. That leaves the village’s children with an uncertain future. Many of them are likely to follow their parents’ footsteps and become swimming fishers.
It is hard not to feel a touch of sadness as we seek answers in the innocent eyes of the children of Sea-Land. They are unlikely to realize what kind of future is awaiting them. Or perhaps, they have chosen to deliberately ignore such reality as there is very little they can do to change it.
There is one good benefit about living in this village. It is remote and somewhat isolated from the outside world, making it a perfect hiding place for wanted criminals. However, the harsh and undesirable living conditions discourage even the most ardent criminal to take the opportunity.