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Bunyonyi Pygmies

This is a 1 bedroom flat (only one room, no kitchen, no toilet) in a clayhouse in Southern Uganda. The place, 3 by 3 meters in size, is furnished with a raised bed, about 1 m above the dirt stamped floor for better usage of the space. There is one straw carpet on the floor, covering a small part, just like the ones you see people bringing to the beach. The bed is big enough for 6 kids and their grandma. Yes the whole bed like structure is in the picture. Made of wood, some horizontal beams to lay on, and to make it comfortable and soft there is long dried grass to tuck yourself in with. No blankets are visible. The ventilation is a little over the top. The walls don’t connect with the tin ceiling and the walls are so thin and poorly constructed that you can see the outside through several holes in them.

There is no door either, but hopefully they can buy a door in the future. It is just that there is no income except for donations to this community. They have a couple of thousand square meters of land nowadays. On this ground they have built a school for 120 kids, and in the few other buildings, which are not the school, live about 100 people or ten families including grandparents.

These are Pygmies or Batwa. They were living as nomads and hunters in the forests. The forests were slowly cut down and over twenty years ago, the politicians decided to make the rest of the forest into a park. The Pygmies could not stay. You can not hunt animals in a national park. So soldiers came and they were driven out with nowhere to go. They were for a long time depending on locals giving them something to eat. You can imagine, it is not easy to beg from the poor population of Uganda when an average salary is one dollar per day. So there are about a thousand Pygmies now in Uganda. Some of them were driven over to Kongo and some to Rwanda.

Once we arrive to the shore some children greet us. But we are still few to carry all that we bring. So we have a tough climb up the steep hill (200 m above the lake) to the Pygmée’s small piece of land.

The views are stunning but our loads are heavy.

We get up and it is fun for some time as we sing and dance with the kids in the classes and as we take photos. The classrooms are 4x4 m and the clay walls are in bad conditions. Except for the missing windows and doors there are several holes, also to the next door classroom. The low benches can seat 30 children but without desks for the kids nor the teacher.

We also enjoy some traditional dance outside. We show them the traditional Små grodorna dance with Christian playing the harmonica.

But we also walk around and it is troublesome and tough to not get too involved in their poor situation. This is the worst conditions we may have seen. No beds, no mattresses, no water, no electricity.

It is also frustrating for us that even though we have brought so fine gifts to them, they still beg us for money, all of them as soon as they see a chance, they ask for our bracelets, money or for the phone. This counts for all, kids, teachers and other grown ups.

Anyway it feels great that this is our funds biggest donation so far. Theese people surely need help.

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