Hi, this is Tuver,
The indigenous Bambuti people of DR Congo are among the poorest communities living alongside the Virunga National Park, home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla. While in the past they lived as hunter-gatherers, relying on the gorilla habitat for food, fuel and shelter, the establishment of the national park left saw these communities evicted from the forests. They were left homeless, without land and lacking many of basic skills needed to grow their own crops.
As some of you may know, the Gorilla Organization has been working alongside the African Indigenous and Minority Peoples Organisation (AIMPO) to provide the Bambuti with their own give them the literacy and agricultural skills they need to integrate into mainstream society.
One such community to benefit from our work is the village of Nkwenda, which I recently paid a visit to. Here, as we celebrated the UN World Day of Indigenous People, I saw for myself the joy people get from being self-sufficient.
The village leader Satura took me on a tour of the 11 hectares the Bambuti work, showing me how they put their new skills to good use growing maize and cassava. August is harvest time here and the sight of the farmers bringing in their crops really lifted my spirits. In fact, Satura told me that, not only will there be enough maize to feed the members of the community, thereby addressing the issue of malnutrition, but that there will also be some surplus, meaning the Bambuti will be able to sells the crops and start pulling themselves out of poverty.
Here are a few pictures from my recent visit to Nkwenda…