Mozugwe

‘Mozugwe’ means hello in Baka and is one of the many things I learnt over the last three weeks, which have been so rich in experience that it feels more as if three months had passed. I visited the two regions in Gabon where the Baka live, around the towns of Minvoul in the North close to the border with Cameroon, and Makokou, in the North-East close to the border with Congo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minvoul and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makokou).

The aim of the trip was to introduce myself to the different communities, to find out whether they want to work with me and what the practicalities of living with modern hunter-gatherers are. I spent a few days in five different villages in total and the photos below show some of what happened whilst I was there. The Baka are indeed still living a highly mobile or nomadic lifestyle, as half the village was always away ‘en brousse’ (in the forest) when I arrived, but they are also partly sedentary with all the involved health issues, such as alcoholism. I was unlucky in that it always rained (it is officially rainy season), and so I didnt get to see any of their famed singing and dancing, but am looking forward to seeing it during my next trip to the field. I am now back in Libreville, digesting all the information and experiences, and planning the next steps.

Meeting some of the Baka female village elders. Traditional huts in background

One of the official research sessions in the village meeting hall, which also functions as a church

Lying in front of me is one of the most dangerous snakes here: the Gabun viper

Anita building a traditional hut called 'mongulu'

We started off with only three people in the boat...but there had been a death in one village, and when we journeyed on to the next village, many Baka joined to share the sad news with their relatives. Thankfully, I had the sub-prefect's large boat so I could invite everybody along.

A quiet moment on the Ivindo river

 

Will be posting more over the next week, now that I have better internet access here in Libreville. In rural Gabon it’s difficult, as the connection is very slow and unstable . . .

One Response to Mozugwe

  1. Cheron says:

    Good for you. Interesting details. Like the photo of you with the snake, but I’m hoping it was already dead!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: