The first two days on this field trip have included both a lot of time in the land cruiser, a great visit in a village with indigenous people, some spectacular sights from the road up to Ratanak Kiri and Banlung and fresh nuts and national beer with random locals. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring after the planned 5.30 morning exercise.
Also the third day has been good even if a visit to one of many economic land concessions in the Ratanak Kiri province made the mood drop a bit due to the insight it have on what it does to the indigenous people living here. Also, I can just imagine what the scenery must have been before all the rubber and cashew tree plantations replaced the natural rain forest. During the day I also got the chance to see Bang Yeak Loam, a volcano crater lake in the middle of an indigenous community. Tomorrow we head off to another target area of our partner organization ICSO (indigenous community support organization).
After a couple of days in Ratanak Kiri it’s with mixed feelings that I return to the capital. Even though the visit was great in many ways it was also depressing seeing what numerous land concessions, transforming what used to be rain forest into rubber tree plantations, is doing to local indigenous minorities living in the area.
Also, what looked like a green and lush landscape on the way going there looked like no more than huge areas of plantations on the way home; which it also were.
In one of the villages that we visited the villagers invited us to see them preform an indigenous dance ritual and sharing some of their wine. Far from the best wine I had – even in Cambodia – but still another experience richer.
The almost ten hour trip back to Phnom Penh was just that; almost ten hours… with stop for lunch. It’ll be good and hopefully relaxing to spend the coming week at the office and sleep in my own bed!
Indigenous village in Sung Treng Province on the way to Ratanak Kiri.
The road to the village above where the Land Cruiser was actually needed…
Utsikt fran hotellet.
Leaving Phnom Penh, crossing the Mekong.
Ratanak Kiri-coffee going back to the office in Phnom Penh.