Clémentine’s letter (a volunteer who stayed 6 months in Cambodia)

Clementine bienClémentine (on the left) with the farmers


Clémentine is an agronomic engineer, who worked with the Bayon team between March and August 2020 on the Green Farming project and the creation of the Agroecology school. Before leaving, she sent a short message to the Bayon team that we would like to share with you.


Dear Bayon Team,

6 months following my arrival, I am now on my way back to France, after an incredible experience which I will never forget. Thank you all. Before I leave, I would like to express a few thoughts.

Firstly, thank you all for your warm welcome. It was very hard at the beginning because of my arrival in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, but, although I do not know you very well, I have learnt so much about Cambodia, thanks to you and I am so very grateful.

I would now like to discuss a subject which concerns not only Cambodia, but countries all across the world.

It is essential to understand that agriculture in the BASIS of life. Since time began, farmers have been the reason that we have survived and will continue to do so until we die. Everybody knows, or knows of, a farmer and understands that it is one of the hardest jobs in the world – maybe you, on your own small scale, grow vegetables in your back garden and can appreciate the time and energy required. Food is life and, if the saying is true that we are what we eat, then we should choose our food wisely.


I think it is true to say that we all hope for a better future for Cambodia; at Bayon, you are actually building that future. But I feel that we can go further, do more. Let us imagine for one minute the consequences of buying our food locally.

As simple as it may seem, if we buy local and natural products, we are encouraging the local economy, preserving our health, helping to preserve the environment, saving water and avoiding deforestation and soil destructions over the long term. More Importantly, we are also supporting so many people, not just the farmers, but indirectly all the other jobs which are dependent on agriculture: transporters, food transformation factories, small local vegetables stores, restaurants, and the list goes on.


I appreciate that it is sometimes difficult to find or it requires a little more effort, it can be more expensive and it is not always clear if it is organic or not.  However, we can be sure of the direct and indirect consequences of our actions, be they positive or negative. It is OUR CHOICE; what we choose to eat each and every day WILL have an effect on our landscapes, our environment, our neighbours, our family…

We all know that changing lifelong habits can be difficult and takes time, but remember that every great change started with one first small step….




, 29 September 2020