Pinays in Sovanna Baitong

Thursday, 10 December 2009

For three days now I’ve been having  a  good and easy time at being able to experience a “Filipino moment” in Sovanna Baitong village. That’s because of the presence of the two Filipina staff from the head office in Phnom Penh who are on a three-day “mission” in our project site. It surely gives a good feeling whenever some countrymen are around as I am a lone Pinoy in the area; for one thing, I could reclaim and unloose the Tagalog language after a long interval of non-use. It gives me a proper mooring, tosses me back to the native shore.

Mary Anne and Fatima seem to be enjoying somehow the new task they need to accomplish. Far from the comfort of an air-conditioned office and the fun derived from virtual farming in facebook, they tread through the agriculture plots of our village to see for themselves how the families that we brought from the forests five years ago have managed to use the land provided to them by the government for agriculture and sustainable livelihood. This community agriculture development program is one of the successful approaches to biodiversity conservation implemented by Wildlife Alliance (www.wildlifealliance.org) in Cambodia. About two hundred families who used to engage in forest destruction and wildlife hunting and trading in the southern Cardamom mountains have committed themselves to save the environment by active participation in the program; that is, by doing permanent agriculture and small enterprise, and building a progressive community underpinned by strong solidarity of the people, strong local leadership,  and a clear and stable vision of development as an alternative to a life of uncertainty and threats against nature.

Koh Kong, Cambodia

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