January- March

The dry months has brought much play amongst the youngsters, especially between Kunga, Etefi, Bokata, and Mobangi. Kunga, is very much taking the role of older brother/ instructor, and is often seen in the midst of these play sessions; Bokata, in particular, seems in awe of Kunga, even hitching a ride on his back. Bokata has increasingly spent less time with his mother Mopambi, and now is most often seen walking at a hurried pace behind Makumba. He is curious about all around him, as he learns about his complex forest environment; he has even been seen chasing after forest guinea-fowl (“leke” in BaAka). However, his curiosity may sometimes get the better of him, in March, he got left behind the group, hooting and crying for over 15 minutes until Mio and Mai came back to find him, the negligent mother turned up a few minutes later!. On the other hand, Bokata’s 5-year old sister seems less keen on independence, and is still seen occasionally suckling Mopambi, or crying in protest when she is refused. In February, perhaps taking advantage of Bokata’s new found confidence away from his mother, Makumba’s amorous attentions shifted to Mopambi, but seemingly with little success!
The new addition to the group, Tembo, has gradually grown hair, and by late March was starting to move around, but generally with a restraining arm from his mother. Malui continues to carry Tembo in her characteristic fashion, on the bottom of her arm, giving the impression that she’s wearing a boxing glove, rather than carrying a small infant! Tembo’s oldest sister, Mio, is intent on practicing ‘being mother’, carrying Tembo whenever she gets a chance, usually with Malui in close pursuit. Mio has also been observed grooming her half-brother, Bokata.