The Rice Bowl of Vietnam

Wooden boats travel up and down the Mekong River and its tributaries, transporting the region's natural resources from city to city, town to town. Fisherman cast giant nets into the water, hoping for a large catch. It's only a 15-minute motorbike trip from Can Tho to the countryside, where water buffalo roam in the rice fields and farmers tend their crops. When your livelihood depends on the environment, you develop a close, positive relationship with your natural surroundings. You become one with your environment, and learn to love and respect it. You don't do things to intentionally harm your environment. Without a healthy environment, the people of the Mekong Delta would struggle to maintain healthy lives. The environment is their lifeline. And it's ours as well.

Can Tho has a population of over a million people, yet the pace of life is unhurried and relatively peaceful. It's far less "developed" than cities of equal size in the United States. The city is in the heart of the Mekong Delta region, surrounded by flat farmland and a maze of rivers as far as the eye can see. Like most city this size, it continues to grow and develop, but the rice fields, tropical orchards, rivers and coastal waters will always play a dominant role in the Mekong Delta. It's part of this region's identity: to maintain a positive relationship with and to live off of its environment. That's what life in the Delta is all about.