Monday, March 1, 2021

Life on the ocean waves for Sabah’s water villages

Just 10 minutes from Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu lies Pulau Gaya, where a community of people live in shacks built on stilts, popularly known as water villages.

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Here, one of five villages on the island, fishing and boat driving are the main occupations.

Many skills associated with water come naturally to villagers from a young age – even children such as seven-year-old Mohd Sapi, seen paddling a canoe, the main form of transportation between villages.

A boy somersaults into the water outside his home, a leisure activity enjoyed by many children in the village.

For people used to having the ocean right outside their doorsteps, nothing is too dangerous. Hidaya Subi, seven, gives her little sister Hasina a boost up after their daily dip in the sea.

These children are all smiles as they paddle past their homes in a makeshift boat.

Sinara Zubit and Kamila Senon, both eight, show off the catch brought back by their fathers. Seafood brings the villagers their main source of income, and is a staple in their daily diet.

A man gets a haircut from a fellow villager in Kampung Kesuapan.

A man transports drums of water to Kampung Pondo, another village in Pulau Gaya. There is no systematic water supply for daily use, so islanders are forced to buy water at RM7 a drum.

Every day, the children in Kampung Kesuapan are tasked with carrying water in plastic bottles to their homes.

A girl sits outside her home next to a water drum in Kampung Gaya Asli, another of the five villages on Pulau Gaya.

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