Batwa People (Pygmies), History and Culture of Echuya Batwa
The Batwa people also known as pygmies are based in South Western Uganda and are believed to be the first inhabitants of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Keepers of the forest). They lived in the forest as hunters and gatherers which was their only means of survival.
In the 1990’s, the Batwa people were evicted from the forest without compensation as the area was gazetted as a national park to protect the endangered mountain gorillas and also made a UNESCO World Heritage site. The eviction almost led to the extinction of this indigenous community because the new lifestyle out of the forests was not familiar to them.
However in 2001, the great missionary scientists came in and introduced the schemes. They built a school, hospital and housing facilities. They also developed water and sanitation projects as well championed ways that the Batwa could generate income and sustain themselves. The main founded project is Batwa Development Program (BDP) that is managed and operated by the BDP working hand in hand with the Batwa community to ensure that their indigenous rights are respected and they also benefit from the forest being a national park and tourist attraction.
The uniqueness about the Batwa People is that they have preserved their ancient lifestyle and this can be witnessed by their hunting acts, honey gathering and through traditional dances and folk tales.
The Batwa cultural trail experience is pioneered by the Batwa pygmies to educate their children through paying tuition as well as sharing the amazing Batwa cultural heritage and traditions with the whole world. The moments with the Batwa people.
Hike in the forest exploring every corner of it with the “keepers of the forest” as guides and observe their way of living while in the forest, including their traditional way of hunting. You also have a chance to try out your invincible hunting techniques as they lecture you on how you can apply a bow and arrow in targeting the prey.
Visit a traditional Batwa homestead and attend classes on how a meal is prepared in this community and also have it served traditionally and the best moment is tasting the meal.
Not all flora in the jungle is medicine but a talk with the good renowned medicine men will help us identify several medicinal plants as well as their roles
Dance to legendary dances and listen to the ancient traditional songs and folk tales.
This community visit can be embedded on an itinerary to track gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable Forest National park. Book a trip with www.jewelsafaris.com and experience the unique lifestyle of the Batwa people.