I am sharing this story to inspire you for finding what seeds in here resonate deeply with you. How can you plant those unique seeds to foster an authentic connection to life’s mystery? This story began in Nov 2014 when I was in Cambodia at the end of my three-month sojourn to China and Cambodia.
I have not wanted to dilute the story by sharing it in public until now. With the encouragement of my dear friend Rebekah and the energy of the times we are in, I have come to know that now is the time to share. Bouny has given his permission and life is calling forth the seed that was planted, has grown, and is now ready for it’s next manifestation of fruit in the world.
I was visiting my dear friend and soul brother Jim in Cambodia after nearly 3 months of Qi Gong, Chinese Medicine study, trekking, and other travel in China. Jim had lived in Cambodia for a few years at that time. We decided to go to the northeastern corner of Cambodia and do some trekking. We also spent some time with a project that was partnering with locals to preserve native forests for protection of elephants and to prevent clear cutting. (Mondilkiri Project)
We found an ethical trekking company and took off for our time in the jungle with our guide Bouny, his younger brother Dalung who was in training to become a guide, and a small group of others.
Our trek took us through the jungle where we camped in hammocks hung amongst the huge bamboo. We also stayed a night with a local indigenous family sleeping on the floor of their open air home.
The evening we camped in the jungle, sap was collected from a local medicine tree for assistance in making a bamboo spatula for cooking over the fire.
Our last day was spent connecting with the beautiful souls in a small local village as we walked back out of the woods. Such warm hearts, deep eyes where you can see to the depth of the soul, and such love, care and interconnection with the Web of Life.
During our trek together, I was deeply touched and felt an immediate connection with Bouny. There were many conversations as well as just observations of how he lived, breathed and was inextricably connected to the land.
He had taught himself to speak English by working as a guide. He showed an integrity, authenticity and a clear conviction to create a black pepper farm on some land he had recently acquired. He also shared he would be getting married the following year. The experience of the trek and the heart-centered connection with this young man were very much alive in me as Jim and I were saying our good-byes.
From some place deep in my heart, from a place that was not cognitive in anyway, I heard myself say, “I would consider offering you a loan to help you get your farm going.”
We hugged, exchanged contact info and Jim and I waved as we walked away. The seed had been thrown and it was to slowly grow over the next many months.
Just prior to going on my Asia trip, I had joined a group created through Sustainable NE Seattle called LIONESS (Local Investment Opportunity Network NE Seattle). We were all choosing to get money out of wall street and banks. We wanted to invest with local sustainable businesses who were looking for loans. This organization has been a great match for me and if you are curious, I am happy to share more information. Just let me know.
Maybe the ‘lion’ in me spoke those words to Bouny. After much research, conversation, and connection with my own heart and soul, my local investments were about to grow! Local still as the loan that did ultimately manifest between Bouny and myself came from the heart but of course the fruits of that loan are on two farms in NE Cambodia.
Over these three years, we have both come to receive a big win/win from this loan! Bouny and his wife have become my friends. They also just received the gift of a beautiful son this past summer.
Following are photos that Bouny has shared from each of his two farms. He is growing black pepper trees, avocado trees, cashew nut trees, orange trees, and various other fruits and vegetables.
These photos share a bit of how Bouny has very wisely invested his loan money. First for a house for some of his family members who now can live and work his land instead of working long hard hours for low wages in the fields. He has also paid ahead with his bounty supporting local indigenous people in providing a place to live in exchange for work on the land. In addition, he is mentoring his younger brothers.
Water was brought from the river with pipes laid by hand.
The raw beauty of this part of Cambodia still lives vividly in me. The vulnerability, strength, warmth and beauty of the land is reflected in these people. They both touched me to the core.
Bouny has chosen organic fertilizer and was featured in a news story on a local station since his cashew nut trees excelled in performance with it’s use as well as his very innovative pruning and grafting skill.
It has been a deep privilege and joy to stay connected to this process of life co-creating life as this project continues to unfold. There are more seeds potentially to be planted in the future. The Mystery of Life will continue to weave it’s beauty as time unravels it’s possibilities.
This story lives in the sphere of beauty, care, deep connection to place…. and love. Bouny continues to show me he is a man of integrity, authenticity, and a clear conviction to live and work in true communion with the land.
The way my offer showed up out of the Mystery and has continued to grow, thrive and be offered forward by Bouny into the Mystery is a deep demonstration of how giving and receiving are undeniably entwined.
May this story inspire you to give and receive courageously and with deep connection from and through the heart.