The community is situated about 40 km from Kribi in the South Region of Cameroon, in the Ocean Division.
Mvoumagomi's Pygmy community lives deep in the tropical rainforest. Roads are nonexistent making access and communication very difficult, even with the relatively nearby town of Kribi. During the rainy season the village is cut off with increased dangers from flooding. The village is located about 40 km from Kribi by canoe on the river Lobe. Accessing the village requires an additional half hour walk through thick bush. Mvoumagomi's villagers live in communities of 30 people on average, 100 people at most.
A simple communal shelter serves as a main camp for the villagers. During the rainy season, they collect water in basins and buckets to keep the bare dirt floor dry. A small fire is used for cooking. When on hunting expeditions, they construct more temporary shelters by weaving saplings together and covering them with overlapping rows of broad leaves.
The Pygmy peoples of South Cameroon are traditional semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers. These communities identify themselves as ‘forest peoples’ due to the fundamental importance of the rainforest to their culture, livelihood, and history. They live in intimate connection to and knowledge of the forest. Unfortunately they have been squeezed between conservation areas and land which has been handed over to multinational companies for exploitation. Oil palm and rubber tree plantations become no-go areas for them without compensation for the loss of their land or regard for the damaging impact on their livelihood or wellbeing. Their health is deteriorating as mosquitoes are rife among the plantations, increasing malaria in the area, while general nutrition of the Pygmies has suffered radically due to compromised access to their traditional forest foods.
The Pygmies communities today have lost access to clean water. For drinking water, villagers must make an average of 10 to 30 minutes trek to the closest river. This task falls primarily to women and children. They walk barefoot through dense forest to reach the river and then must be very careful not to slip from the muddy banks. Children are most vulnerable to being lost to these risks of being attacked by wild animals.
The water is transported from the river in plastic bottles, basins, and plastic containers. It remains stagnant sometimes for days before use, where bacteria and viruses proliferate and attract mosquitoes. Besides, often the water is contaminated, but they have no choice because it’s the only way to quench their thirst and carry out normal daily tasks. Moreover being engaged in these tasks, children can not attend school and be educated.
Hygene & sanitation
ln the Mvoumagomi village, toilets do not exist at all. As with all other necessities, the community uses the forest "when nature calls." This practice poses health risks. The presence and possession of toilets in this community is urgently needed to provide sustainable sanitation, giving villagers a sense of dignity, security, and equality with others. A toilet is not a luxury, but an essential necessity for good hygiene and disease prevention for the entire community.
The Pygmy people of Central Africa are the principal hunter-gatherers of the tropical rainforest. Groups establish temporary camps of huts constructed from bent and woven branches covered in large leaves. They hunt and gather all their own food. The men hunt and trap in the surrounding forest, using poisoned arrows and spears to great effect, welcoming the help of dogs on these excursions. Fishing is very important in Pygmy culture and young boys are taught to use fishing rods at a young age.