After setting up a hunting camp, Pygmies do deeper into the Ituri Forest to set up nets to catch game. The semi-nomadic tribe depends on fish, honey and duikers which are small antelope. The short statured people have survived living in the forest for thousands of years in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Changes in rural Central Africa are resulting in rapid erosion in the culture of forest peoples.
From my journal: Paluku and I head out with the net hunters… most of our time is without paths…I feel like an elephant around a bunch of little mice… I am constantly tripping on vines; leaves are whipping my arms, legs, even drawn thru my mouth just trying to keep up with these little guys. I think to myself that it makes sense that these folks were formed by this place as a six-foot person, I try to follow a 4-foot guy who is using a machete to cut out a hole in the jungle just his size.
It’s been over a week since I went net hunting and as we go from Pygmy camp-to-camp encircling the Bantu village, I am greeted with great enthusiasm from everyone who was on that hunt. They come running out of their huts yelling, emotional, and I remember a segment Raymond translated from one of the more fervent evening speeches from one of the pygmy chiefs. He basically said how different the times were… “It used to be, if we saw a white man, we would run away, now we are sharing the same campfire with one.”
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