conservation & sustainability

Making A Difference: The Batwa Smile at receiving Covid_19 Relief food From Gorilla Walking Safaris

Corona Virus has hit the world hard but the effects are not close to the escalating hunger that has seen many people struggle to find a meal including communities that directly depended on tourist’s visits for survival out of selling crafts, tips or cultural encounter experiences. This has seen thousands of households struggle to live but worst is finding a survival meal for the day. The Batwa Community has not been spared either and to me, they have surely had the wrath of the pandemic.

All was well with us at first when we got restricted to move _ in our houses by the government of Uganda as a preventive measure to curb the spread of the deadly virus pandemic, while we thought was a good idea and a solution to the then fast spreading virus, it hadn’t crossed our minds that fast about the lock-down effects it would cause to the more less privileged communities like the Batwa and many others who directly or indirectly survived on tourist guest arrivals.

After we had written about Africa’s Mountain Gorillas at risk of contacting Covid_19 and a month into the lock-down, we realized it was getting more harder with us, but then how about our Batwa friends who had no savings, no farms to plant crops, no income generating activity before but only offer their unique culture to the enthusiastic world travelers, experiences that have made and given our past guests an awesome life changing memorable trip but only have a small piece of land where their small congested houses stand.

conservation & sustainability

Read also 10 Top sounding reasons to visit Uganda

Who Are The Batwa

Commonly referred to as the God Fathers of the forest, The Batwa previously occupied the Bwindi forest before the park was gazetted into a UNESCO site as a conservation measure to protect the already endangered mountain Gorillas that shared the same forest. The Batwa lived an ancient life in the forest as Gatherers, hunters who lived in trees, depended on herbal medicine, lived in small huts made out of leaves with a no clue about modern life.

Their daily life consisted of gathering fruits and hunting among others in the Bwindi forest. Some Anthropologists estimate that pygmy tribe existed more than 60,000 years in the rain forests of Africa which also makes them one of the oldest tribes in Africa.

In A bid to protect the mountain Gorillas from extinction, the Batwa were re-located out the Bwindi Forest and given community land bordering the forest where they found it hard to re-collect their lives so fast as their life skills were hard to practice in the new environment. Modern dressing and feeding including Modern health care practices.

As a result of relocation from the forest, The Batwa resorted to showcasing their unique culture to enthusiastic travelers who want a little more than viewing the Big Five and gorilla Trekking. Travelers have the opportunity to enjoy the following experiences:

·        Travelers can visit their traditional homesteads and learn how they lived together and what each hut represented.

·        Travelers are able to See how they lived and hunted in the traditional way in the forest and witness how they used the Bows and arrows.

·        Guests will learn about survival in the forest with the use of plant species and the importance.

·        Travelers can walk in the Batwa footsteps learning their previous life in the forest. This walk & Hike provides the chance to see the forests and its habitats through their eyes.

  • Energetic singing & dancing at their leisure. How they were always invited in the communities out of the forest to entertain people before they went back. You definitely will enjoy a true energetic dance.

conservation & sustainability

Read also Africa’s Mountain Gorillas at risk of the Corona Virus

How do we intend to keep the pace.

Tourism is down and how do we plan on making this possible to feed the Batwa? Yes with hopes still high that tourism will re-start soon, we have been lucky to have saved enough to run Gorilla Walking safaris but also not so much to be proud of. Our desire to share the little we have with the less fortunate who have been part of our guest travel experiences is our major driving force. We might be complaining and wondering what next, or wondering until when will this come to pass to recollect our lives, there are many more people less fortunate than us. So how about share the little we have and give hope? Remains in our core strategy foundation for Life changing journeys.

It is not enough but we plan on trying to meet basic needs like Food so life can go on. We have planned a US$ 1000 fund every month for the Batwa basically tackling food issue. This would cater for Posho (Corn Meal), Beans, Salt, Soap and cooking oil for all the 45 family groups in the community with 126 members. It might be little, but its surely helpful in these times.

But where will the funds come From? In Addition our little humble contribution Funds at Gorilla Walking Safaris, We are lucky to have some well wishers majorly including our past guests that have shown interest from all over the world in extending a hand to the Batwa and in this pandemic. It’s with no doubt during the good old days before Corona Pandemic, the Batwa have given them awesome experiences. Some of the well wishers are Dr. Christel Houthuys from Belgium, a 4 times returning guest, now a great friend to us and the Batwa community.

Planning to travel after Corona Pandemic? When you finally make a decision to travel to Uganda with us, for every $100 of the planned trip price shall in advance now go directly to this monthly fund and when you finally travel, stay happy knowing you changed a life and put a smile on the faces of this Batwa community. Feel free to get in touch with our conservation and Sustainability manager Alex for tailor made Life changing journeys.

Gorilla Walking Safaris Conservation and sustainability travel like partnering with Uganda Conservation Foundation in protecting Gorillas and wildlife has been a driving force for our well crafted trips where travelers get life changing & authentic local experiences during their trips with us. Gorilla Walking Safaris has also seen a number of Philanthropy projects running and successful while more are coming.

conservation & sustainability

Here are also some of well crafted Conservation Safaris with a chance to meet the Batwa community

7 Days Bwindi Gorillas & Kidepo Safari

7 Days Bwindi Gorillas & Murchison Safari

7 Days Bwindi Gorillas & lake Mburo Safari

9 Days Primates in Style Uganda Safari

14 Days Fly To Kidepo Group Safari (scheduled departure for 2021)

If You would like to be part in life changing journeys or simply sharing to keep the Batwa happy during this Covid_19 hard times, feel free to get in touch with us while we together make the world a better place.

Check out our last visit highlights in video below.

 

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