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The Pygmy village of Bundibugyo

Updated on May 26, 2012

Enjoying a coke with the Pygmy King in Bundibugyo, Uganda

Pygmy King in Bundibugyo, Uganda outside of Vanilla Lodge
Pygmy King in Bundibugyo, Uganda outside of Vanilla Lodge | Source

On the border of Uganda and The Democratic Republic of Congo there lies a small Pygmy tribe near the town of Bundibugyo. This man is their king. The Pygmy tribe are hunter-gatherers by background and have long lived in the Ituri forest. I first met with a Pygmy tribe as a 16 year old in Zaire (Congo) when a missionary woman by the name of Margaret Clapper took my on an expedition into the jungle armed with a hand wound record player and some supplies. That summer the mother of a Pygmy baby died in childbirth and we cared for the little one by the warmth of the stove until she grew strong. She was returned to her tribe when she was around 2. We called her Kimberly. They called her Uniki.

Boy with a Machete outside of a Pygmy Hut

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Little Boy with Machete in the Pygmy Village

I again met up with a Pygmy tribe on this trip to Bundibugyo where we provided medical care and teaching. This group lives on the edge of the forest with access to the town from the main road. They have little in the way of possessions but are quite resourceful. They learn at a young age to utilize tools such as machetes and bows and arrows. I still have a Pygmy bow from my trip covered with Colobus Monkey tail and arrows with leaf feathers.

Grandma's Hut and Cooking Fire

The grandmother of the King cooks on this simple stone lined fire pit. She feeds the fire with sticks. Her grandchild is with her and there is a close-up of the two of them in the photo below.

The Pygmy King's Grandmother with a Child

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Inside Grandma's Hut

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Grandma's Hut

Inside the hut is a simple stick bed, a plastic cup, a fire pit with a cooking pot and a few items of clothing. Little else is used for day to day living.

Pygmy Mothers with Children, Note the Meat on a Stick

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Pygmy Mothers and Children

Many mothers with their children can be seen in the village. During the day most of the men are off hunting in the woods. They roast the meat which they shoot with their bow and arrows, You can see some of the meat skewered and ready to cook. Because of the influence of the town and tourist visits some of the adults wear traditional clothing. The children are generally naked and the older women do not usually worry about covering their breasts. The children play and learn surival skills at a very young age.

Pygmy Child on Yellow Jerry Can with Yellow Lollipops

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This child has chosen a cut out Jerry Can as a place to play and eat her 2 lollipops.

Pygmy Mother's and Children

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The members of the village are listening to a message by one of the native speakers from Zana Presbyterian Church in Lubowa, Uganda. They are a generally attentive group and particularly enjoyed a visual illustration that was used.

Pygmy Child Receiving Gift from Samaritan's Purse

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Samaritan's Purse was distributing Christmas gifts to children in Uganda and graciously allowed us to distribute some to the Pygmy village. This photo is of one of the children receiving their shoe box full of gifts. I must say that a number of 20 year olds lined up to receive a box as well. It is rare to receive such gifts and they were quite excited to open them and see what was inside. The King of the Pygmys received one as well.

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I hope that you enjoyed your unique visit to the Pygmy village of Bundibugyo. Lenzy

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    • Lenzy profile image
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      Lenzy 4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      This particular pygmy group had already been marginalized by the government, locating them on the fringe of the forest. They had fallen prey to the tourist industry paying for photos, much like the Masai in Kenya. This group spent a lot of time drinking and less time hunting in the forest. I visited with a small group of Ugandans, one of who grew up in the area and spoke the language. It was a memorable visit.

    • Fred Mucai profile image

      Fred Mucai 4 years ago from nairobi

      This is a very good account of Bundibugyo village and its people. No matter where you go, people always seem to be the sum total of their experiences. If nobody ever attempts to change their culture, the pygmies will always be content to live as they do.

    • Lenzy profile image
      Author

      Lenzy 4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Emmanuel,

      This location is on the border of Uganda and DRC and is still quite hot most of the time. It was a wonderful trip and I thank you for reading about it. Lenzy

    • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

      Emmanuel Kariuki 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Great hub! One lesson for the world is that possessions are not the source of happiness. One questions comes to mind though - isn't that area cold? In Kenya we have communities living in simple airy dwellings but it is generally a hot climate.

    • Lenzy profile image
      Author

      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Suzie HQ, It is very heartening to know that you feel like you have been to the pygmy village after reading my hub. Thank you. Lenzy

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Great hub Lenzy So insightful and interesting.It is a part of the world I have never been to so your words are descriptive and straight as if I was there.Thanks so much for a very interesting hub on the Pygmy tribe. Voted up, awesome and all the rest.

    • Lenzy profile image
      Author

      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Your words are filled with enthusiasm and superlatives. Thank you for the upbeat comments that you exuded. Lenzy

    • Lenzy profile image
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      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      ShalahChayilJOY

      Thank you for the lovely comments. I am so glad that you enjoyed sharing my journey. Lenzy

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a wonderful hub! It must be awesome to be able to visit these places and help these people. I love your stories! Your pictures are wonderful. You are a very blessed person. Voted this up and awesome! Thank you for sharing this with us. Have a great day! :)

    • ShalahChayilJOY profile image

      Shalah Chayil 5 years ago from Billings, Montana

      Lovely! thank you for showing us this awesome story of human life in another country. It's absolutely breathtaking and beautiful..Great HUB

    • Lenzy profile image
      Author

      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thank you LaThing. I hope to be able to have many more such experiences in my lifetime. Lenzy

    • Lenzy profile image
      Author

      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Natashalh, I appreciate you enjoying this hub. It was a great experience and I enjoy being able to share it. Lenzy

    • Lenzy profile image
      Author

      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thank you for your kind thoughts bdegiulio. I just found out that a few of the best photos in this group were from my daughter's photos that got mixed in with mine. I would like to make sure that she is credited with them as she is a photo journalist and does exceptional work. My photos are adequate and give you a good idea of what is to be seen. Hers are the ones that are excellent. Thanks Chrissy.

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Such a great hub, great pictures! What an experience..... Enjoyed the journey with you. Thanks for sharing it with us.

      Voting up and interesting!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      What an unbelievable experience. Thanks for posting this! Voted up and sharing!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Lenzy, you are taking me to places I never dreamed of and may never get to visit in person. Thank you for educating me and sharing your wonderful stories and travels through Africa. The simplicity of the Pygmy life is refreshing to see and read about. Well done as usual. Sharing, voting up and everything else.

    • Lenzy profile image
      Author

      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thank you aviannovice. The opportunity was great. I feel very blessed to have been able to spend time in so many cross cultural situations. Lenzy

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      What a wonderful opportunity to learn about a new culture. I envy you.