When I used to work for a company in the field of commercial photography, I was given a mission in India to work on shooting an ad for one of the finest types of incense.
I travelled and toured the old souks. I met with many traders. I visited them in their shops and had conversations with them. I tried different kinds of incense and one of the types that they spoke highly of was the Cambodian oud!!
I was surprised and wondered to myself: What possibly brought Cambodian oud to India?
In any case, during that trip, I walked into the world of oud and incense but I did not stay there for too long!!
Days went by. I was not aware that Cambodia, the home of the famous oud, will be one of the countries where I will be making many trips, not in order to seek the forests of oud and incense, but rather to document the humanitarian reality there.
On my first trip there, and from the plane’s window, it seemed to me that the beautiful oud fragrance that I know has embraced the clouds.
The plane landed. I stayed there for several days. I toured the villages; and despite the poverty of the people and their harsh living conditions, the fragrance of the oud remained with me at every corner.
Many might fight it hard to stay there for long days and to spend too much time in a country known for its humidity at times, and its heat at other times. However, Cambodia became my destination three times in a single year!!
There, I wanted those who light the Cambodian incense to enjoy its fragrance to know that there are people being burnt with the fire of poverty...