February 2006 (created 12-Apr-06 by Ken)
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Here are the folks currently working with us, and their families. In the center is Bertin with his sister. Bertin used to be my Sangho teacher but he is now in Bangui pursuing his high-school diploma. Upper left is Papa Pierre with his wife and kids. Pierre has worked with the project for 12 years as cook and house keeper. Upper right is Mama Angel with her three children. Angel came to Bayanga to work with one of the expats from the logging company but now that the logging company is out of business she started helping us by looking after Charlie. Her daughter Carol (right...
And here are some of the animals we have adopted into the family. There is "Sweetheart" the kitten who's mom lives with Thomas and his family. Then there is "Limba" the puppy that Thomas brought to us from a friend in Berberati. "Froggy" is the river turtle who likes to eat tadpoles (hence the name Froggy). Finally we have 9 chickens. We used to have 11 chickens, but having 3 roosters didn't work out well so two of the roosters got consumed. Now we have about 20 eggs in the process of hatching and more in the fridge.
About once a year Chloe takes a couple days away from her Gorilla habituation responsibilities and joins some of her off-duty trackers for a traditional net hunt. On this particular occasion I felt priviledged to be invited to join. Here is Chloe with a couple of her trackers before setting off on a hunt. Hunting is not permitted in the two park sectors where the Gorilla habituation efforts are taking place but there is a large community hunting zone where the BaAka are free to pursue traditional activities.
Here is a BaAka child pretending to chop wood with a large wooden spoon. In probably another year or so this child will be walking around with a razor sharp machette and making a contribution to the family needs.
The hunting nets are hand woven from forest fibers and can be 50 yards long. During the hunt one end of the net is hung on a small tree such as the two hooks here, then they are stretched out and hung just off the ground using the vegetation that is available along the route of the net. There are often 5 or more nets strung end to end and curved such that they form a "U" shape in the forest. At the open end of the "U" part of the group start whooping and hollering and beating the vegetation around them with the intent to chase any animals within the nets to run and get entangled...
A wife of one of the trackers, her "backpack" loaded and ready to leave camp. With the sun glinting through the trees she looks like a comfortable part of the forest.
There really just is no more space in Chloe's pickup after about 40 of us piled in, and we were only half of the group that had been out on the hunt for two days. While Chloe generally discourages this sort of overloading, it was a short trip and everyone was ready to get back to Bayanga. The boisterous singing on the way home was only interupted by the occasional low branch that threatened to knock someone off the back.
Charlie and her friend Kato enjoying a ride in the back of mommy's car.
Paul, an American missionary based here in Bayanga, invited me to join him for a fishing trip up the Sangha River. Apart from a couple of rain squalls we had a great time. Unfortunately our catch was limited to this tiger fish that I managed to get ashore, but there were plenty of "huge" ones that got away to keep us talking for awhile. While it was a nice size for a tiger fish, my strategy here is to hold the fish as close to the camera as I can to make it appear much larger.
Chloe, David and I trying to set up the computer and projector for a movie night at Bai Hokou. Bai Hokou is the current base for local Gorilla habituation efforts (although there is talk of setting up a second habituation program). Everyone is quite busy during the day, but we decided to do something fun for us and the guys one night while we were out there. The film was "The Lion King" projected onto a white sheet with not the best sound quality, but we all had a great time.