Friday, January 19, 2007

Jungle Girl Found, Reunited With Father After 19 Years In The Wilds Of Cambodia

But Now She Wants To Go Back To The Jungle

Ro : She came out of the jungle after 19 years. Now she wants to go back.

A remarkable story of human survival in the wilds we mostly abandoned when we chose to live together in communities, and tore down jungles for farmlands.

There's been dozens of these kinds of stories over the decades. From the World War 2 Japanese soldier who hid out on a Pacific Island until the late 1960s, to tales as recent as a few years ago, of lost children being adopted and raised by apes or other animals.

This woman, back in the civilised world, doesn't speak the local language, so nobody yet knows how she managed to survive in the jungle for almost two decades.

But she clearly doesn't like 'our world'.

From the UK Independent :

A woman who disappeared in the jungles of north-eastern Cambodia as a child has apparently been found after living in the wild for 19 years.

The woman - believed to be Rochom P'ngieng, who would now be 27 years old - was described as "half-human and half-animal" by a local police chief.

But Sal Lou, a 45-year-old villager in the Oyadao district in Rattanakiri province, where the woman was found last Saturday, said he was her father.

"When I saw her, she was naked and walking in a bending-forward position like a monkey... She was bare-bones skinny. She was shaking and picking up grains of rice from the ground to eat. Her eyes were red like tigers' eyes," he said.

Rochom P'ngieng, then eight years old, disappeared in 1988 when she was herding buffalo in a remote jungle area...

The woman was discovered after a villager noticed that food disappeared from a lunch box he left at a site near his farm, Chea Bunthoeun said. "He decided to stake out the area and then spotted a naked human being, who looked like a jungle person, sneaking in to steal his rice," he added.

The villager finally caught the woman on 13 January.

"If she is not sleeping, she just sits and glances left and right, left and right..."

UPDATE : This story is now getting some heavy worldwide media attention. I just can't shake this terrible feeling that this is going to end very badly for this woman.

If she wants to go back to the jungle, then let her go.

To deny her this choice, is to deny her the most basic freedom of humanity. The right to exercise her free will.

From the UK Daily Mail :

She speaks in grunts, crawls instead of walking — and now she wants to go back to live in the jungle.

Filthy and naked when she was discovered, with long matted hair and a furtive, hunted expression, she was caught stealing food left under a tree by a villager.

Yet despite the fact that she is only able to speak three words — father, mother and stomach ache — she has been identified as Ro Cham H’pnhieng, 27.

Ro Cham is finding it hard to adjust to life with other humans. “She prefers to crawl rather than walk like a human,” said Mao Sun, a district police chief in the north-eastern province of Rattanakiri, where the girl’s family live.

“Unfortunately, she keeps crying and wants to go back to the jungle,” he said. “She is not used to living with humans. We had to clothe her. When she is thirsty or hungry she points at her mouth.”

Since they found her, villagers have clothed and fed her. But the woman — uncomfortable in her new surroundings — rebuffs their advances, refusing to use chopsticks and fighting off anyone who approaches.

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