One Step Beyond – Cambodia – People – Ou Phanna
I walked into the forest, which is where I stepped on a mine. I was out collecting mushrooms, herbs, and other vegetables. The accident happened on September 7, 2003. It happened recently, just six months ago. Before I went there, I hadn't felt well at all.
So I have to tell you what I dreamed about the night before the accident. It was a nightmare: I dreamed that the top of our house was on fire. I was pouring water onto the flames, trying to put out the fire. But it was futile – the fire kept on burning.
The next morning, I felt very bad. I wanted to go to the forest to relax and let my mind think about other things. I asked my husband to join me because I wanted to collect mushrooms and stroll around. But then, on the way ... it happened. I didn't expect anything would happen to me.
It was a clear day, it was sunny, and while we were walking, everything was normal.
I live in the mountains on a mountain peak. We walked behind my house and then down the mountain. We entered the forest and took a path that was so narrow we had to walk single file. We passed a waterfall falling from down the rocks. There were both big and small trees along the forest path. There were also some dead trees on the ground, covered by moss and grass. As it was far from our village, I could only hear the chirping of the birds from everywhere in forest, but I couldn't hear the sound of other people. I had walked about three kilometers, arriving at the foot of the hill – the mountain was rather flat at this point – where I stepped on the mine.
I didn't notice anything in particular at that moment. The stump of a tree was lying across the path. It was covered with the old leaves. And as I came up to that tree stump and was just about to climb over it, that's when I stepped on the mine. We didn't see it; it was buried in the ground.