Edge of Faith July 2017 - Page 11

of human atrocity. Knowing people that have had their own family members hunted and killed and eaten. Hearing just snippets of their stories and crying. Of course crying, but just things that you don’t think are possible or humanly imaginable; that things like this don’t happen and then meet- ing the people that it does happen to. It’s a real wakeup call. It sticks with you for the rest of your life. You said they got turned away from the hospital. If I recall, that was because the Pygmies aren’t even considered human, so they didn’t want to waste the medicine on them. The quote to Andibo’s mother the first time she took him was, “You’re too dirty to come in here.” That’s what the nurses told her and she wasn’t allowed entry into the hospital clinic. Because they don’t get paid in money for their slave labour, they get paid in scraps of food or half bars of soap or a shirt that has tons of holes in it, or something like that to clothe themselves with. The second time they had gotten, begged and were able to get $3.50 and some charcoal and a bunch of firewood and a chicken (which was surprisingly more expensive, double or triple the cost of here in the U.S. for a full chicken; if you think of a rotis- serie chicken, there a chicken goes for $10 or $15. Fifteen dollars was the actual price of a chicken there in the market.). So, they took that and about a dozen eggs and they took everything the village had; like at least 85 maybe more like 100 people rallied together and gave everything they could and still they got turned away a second time. This time a nurse didn’t meet them at the outside it was the doctor, the one that ran it, and he said the real reason which was that, “We won’t waste our medicine on a Pygmy animal.” They turned them away. The next day was when Andibo passed and that we buried him. That is just so sad. It is good, though, that you are there, to fight for them. There are a lot of Pygmies in the Congo. I was thinking that you set up something like a village. But is there still a lot of work to go on for the Pygmies? There are 600,000 Mbuti Pygmies in the Congo. That’s the new best stat. Estimates used to be 200,000 to 600,000 but it’s hard to do a census of a forest people that are deep in the forest. But 600,000 is considered the official, good estimate now. We work with 1,500 Mbuti Pygmies. We worked with more drilling the wells, but the whole package of land, water, and food initiative there is with ten different villages on ten plots of land. They all average about 247 to 300 acres of land and in that, there is over 1,500 people that live on that land. Those people are transitioned out of a life of actual modern-day slavery and into a life of freedom; sustainable freedom where they get to live on their own land, work that land, and have clean water there. It actually brings peace to their community because the type of slavery that we work with is slavery. They call him “master” and they get tied up and beaten if they make a small mistake, but it is cultural slavery. It is not the kind of slavery to the rebel groups where they are physically in chains or held at gunpoint. Their slave masters make about $1 - $1.25 a day and they have a tough time providing for their own families. And so, when we get to come in and work with both sides of the community, it actually brings peace; it kind of lifts that burden because they are like, “If we only make $1 a day, how can we take care of our own family much less other families?” And so maybe their grandfathers did it and their fathers did it; it was more beneficial, but now