What usually floors me each time I travel to a place are the people I meet. And the Kui, one of several indigenous communities that call the sprawling jungle of Prey Lang home, were no exception. For the most part, this indigenous community has called this forest home for generations, subsisting on rotational farming and fishing on the Mekong River. There was, of course, a blip during Khmer Rouge Cambodia, when all were separated from their families and relocated to various labor camps, where they were forced to work until the fall of the regime.
Last week, after a day's journey to northern Cambodia, my colleagues and I met with this community and the Khmer facilitators to discuss indigenous land rights under Cambodian law, a knowledge base that will become increasingly important as these parts of the country are targeted for shiny, mining prospects.
What lovely, courageous people! I am a fan.