Collecting medicinal plants with the Pygmies

 
 

In BaAka pygmy culture medicinal plant know-how is kept primarily by the women. Men generally have a basic knowledge covering their own needs, but it is the older women that most neighbours consult.

It is extremely interesting to accompany women in the forest and to observe the exceptionally skilful movements of their hands and their handling of machetes, which is their preferred tool for even the finest of work. Leaves are pressed to extract sap while at the same time rolling other leaves into a funnel to apply the medicine to eyes and ears.

Here visitors can experience traditions that have been in existence for millennia and witness the transmission of this knowledge from the mothers to the infants carried on their backs. These people, who have no ways or means to go to a supermarket to buy string, cough syrup or the honey they so relish, are perfectly in tune with the natural environment they live in. This activity is carried out in the presence of a guide who can serve as an interpreter. In general the atmosphere is relaxed, allowing you to pose as many questions as you like.