Kim Yoonity in Zaire
Kim: Hi! Lend me your ear and I’ll tell you about Zaire.
The Mbuji people have lived in Zaire’s Ituri Rainforest for at least 10,000 years. And today, they continue their traditional nomadic way of life. The Mbuji people, one of the groups known as Pygmies, have an average height of under 5 feet.
When the Mbuji arrived at a new sight in the forest, the women take on the task of hut-building. Weaving large leaves across a framework of sticks, the hut takes only a few hours to complete. I guess you could say they really deserve to be called homemakers!
Here we see one of the tributaries of the Zaire River. The Zaire River, once known as the Congo, sweeps through the dense rainforest in a huge arc on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Its waters are teeming with fish, hippopotamus, and even crocodiles. People use the Zaire as a watery highway, transporting supply up and down the river.
Zaire was once known as the Belgian Congo. During three centuries of slavery, the country lost hundreds and thousands of people. The country gained independence from Belgum in 1960, and 5 years later it adopted the name “Zaire”, a variation of the local word for “river”.
The Mbuji people live as hunter-gatherers in the Ituri Rainforest. They respect the forest’s gifts, and they do very little to harming, never staying more than six weeks in anyone’s spot. While they are expert hunters, the Mbuji have no fire-making skills. They carry hot coal, from camp to camp, creating a lineage of fire that reaches back thousands of years. I suppose that makes each valuable coal an EMBER of the family.