News from the Central African Republic: Louis Sarno's Return Home

To everyone who made it possible:

After months of preparation and a whirlwind welcome in Bayanga, at last in July Louis made it home, and those (Wah Mohn, Thomas and Joakim Martennson) who brought him have each returned safely, though not without those inevitable stretch marks from soul expansion.   

Louis was celebrated by a hybridized ceremony of BaAaka and local Bantu cultures, where everyone from the Mayor to the BaAaka Chiefs were present to honor him. He was interred into a stone structure that took several sleepless nights to build and which will stand for generations to come. It is perhaps one of the best burial sites in the country.

After living there for 30 years, there formed a complex co-dependent situation which was both rare and beautiful. Yet without him, it is unsustainable. In his wake, Yandoumbe is going through a tough transitional phase. But only through losing him can they push towards independence.

For the BaAaka the ashes functioned as his body and were buried as so. They provided closure for their grieving which began in early April. Expectations were extremely high in Bayanga for our continued support. Despite only six full days we were re able to move forward with the water pump (checked that it is functioning and scheduled its future maintenance) and assess access to medication. After visiting the hospital and meeting the traveling doctor, we are now working on inserting Yandoumbe into his assigned locations. 

For your donations towards this endeavor, we want to thank you. We are eager for Yandoumbe to achieve total self-reliance, but the road is long. Though we want to avoid dependence, the contradiction is that to prevent this community and Louis' son Samedi from spiraling, our support is still needed. As a tribute to Louis, let us stay connected to his distant friends and family in the forest. Through wise action, we can help facilitate this new phase in their lives.  

Below is the link to the video. It is not public, but you can access it through this link.

We recommend watching it in 1080p (click the HD button to select this).

Love to everyone,

Wah Mohn 

and the Global Voice Team: Sara Driver, Alexis Adler, and I. Murphy Lewis 

Note: there are nine photos below, just press and it will flow through each one.

Notes from Chhattisgarh

In Eastern India, the Bonda tribal women come down from their tiny remote villages for the weekly market at Jeypore. They are rarely seen, and are one of India’s most ancient and primitive tribes. Some 5,000 live at the junction of Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Andra Pradesh in inaccessible parts of the lush hills.    Nearby Bastar, a beautiful forested plateau is home to many different tribes.  Each one has its own distinct culture, eating habits, dialect, customs, gods and goddess. Religious beliefs are expressed through votive terracotta offerings and reciting tribal epics with singing, dance and painting. In the past decade large mining corporations have been excavating the mountains around, many of which are deemed sacred by the tribal people who have very little sway in the capitalist greed of present day India. These fascinating people are losing their way of life so fast, having been living this same way for hundreds of years. 

Post and Two Photos (press on first photo to view second) from our Associate, Sara Stewart

Inside the African pygmy tribe battling for survival deep in the disappearing rainforest

Known as the Baka, or locally in Congo as Bayaka, people, the tribe lives in west and central Africa. Living in the dense rainforest has given the Baka people has made them adapt to climate's challenges, but half of children are dead by the age of five. 

Photographer and freelance journalist, Susan Schulman, spent a few days with the tribe in February 2016. Schulman's interest in the pygmy tribe came about after hearing about Louis Sarno, who has spent the last 30 years living with the Baka people in the Central African Republic and serving as their doctor.

Read full article at

Inside the world of Louis Sarno, The Pygmy Chief from New Jersey


Louis Sarno is a dear acquaintance of mine for many years that Global Voice has been supporting since 2002 (he had been living with the Pygmies in the Congo for 30 years).

"Louis Sarno has described many times what led him to the rainforest, including in a tight précis at the start of his 1993 memoir Song From The Forest – My Life Among The Ba-Benjellé Pygmies. “I was drawn to the heart of Africa by a song,” the book begins..."

Read the full article at

The Last Lioness: Lady and Herbert

"A haunting call echoes across the Liuwa Plain. There is no answer, there hasn't been for years. She has no pride, no support - she alone must safeguard her own survival. Her name is Lady Liuwa, and she is the Last Lioness.

Isolated by a scourge of illegal trophy hunting that wiped out the rest of her species in the region, Lady Liuwa is the only known resident lion surviving on Zambia's Liuwa Plain. For four years, cameraman Herbert Brauer watched her lonely life unfold, until, in her solitude, she reached out to him for companionship.

But Herbert knows he is not the companion this lonely lioness needs - she should be amongst her own kind. Now, in May of 2009, plans for a male lion translocation have come through, and there is hope for ending her isolation. Lady Liuwa will no longer be the Last Lioness - find out how she copes as lions return to her plain for the first time in over five years."

Watch Video

Director of Photography
HERBERT BRAUER (the photographer who worked with Global Voice on Music that Floats From Afar and Notes from Afar)

Small People. Big Trees.

"The Republic of South Africa. Here in the shade of sub-panel rainforests lives a tribe of the shortest people on Earth - the Baka pigmies. As it was hundreds years ago they hunt for meat and gather gifts of big trees. They pray to the spirits of the forest and teach their children to respect the forest, to take from it only what is of great need. But little by little their traditional mode is changing under the pressure of the "Big World" culture."

Learn More and view the trailer at

Opening our minds to Indigenous Issues

Gonzalo Oviedo

Gonzalo Oviedo

Gonzalo Oviedo is the person every conservationist dreams of sitting next to at a dinner party. He hails from Ecuador and has worked and traveled pretty much everywhere from the remotest part of the Galapagos Islands to the most northerly corner of Russia. IUCN's Senior Advisor for Social Policy, we caught up with Oviedo to ask him about his tireless work with Indigenous Peoples.

What’s the best IP project you have seen put together? 

"There are many excellent projects with Indigenous Peoples. One of my main areas of attention, because of my old-time interest in education, is inter-generational cultural connections. Indigenous peoples in most cases (as everyone in the world) are undergoing rapid cultural change, with the good and the bad effects of it. How indigenous children and youth experience their own culture – their traditional knowledge, practices and institutions? How do they embrace them? Will they continue with their value systems? These are questions that I am not alone in wondering about – they are the questions that I often hear from indigenous elders, who greatly worry about the future of their cultures. In this context, some of the projects that I remember and value most are projects focusing on the youth. In a remote forest area of Southeast Asia, a project organized periodic “forest expeditions” bringing together the elders - traditional experts in forest-related knowledge, with groups of youth who were normally attending schools (where they don’t learn about traditional knowledge). Over a week or so, the “forest expeditions” were a living school on traditional forest knowledge, and an opportunity for transmission of values and inter-generational bonding. In central Africa, a project works with young indigenous Bayakas to help them “reconnect” with their cultures, take pride of them and enhance their capacity to interact with the broader society – I follow this project with great interest. I really think these experiences speak to the future of indigenous cultures, and we should be doing more of this." – Gonzalo Oviedo

Read Full Article on

The Land of No Men: Inside Kenya's Women-Only Village

Where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the desert, the people of Samburu have maintained a strict patriarchy for over 500 years in northern Kenya. That is, until 25 years ago, when Rebecca Lolosoli founded Umoja village as a safe haven for the region's women. Umoja, which means "unity" in Swahili, is quite literally a no man's land, and the matriarchal refuge is now home to the Samburu women who no longer want to suffer abuses, like genital mutilation and forced marriages, at the hands of men.

Throughout the years, it has also empowered other women in the districts surrounding Samburu to start their own men-excluding villages. Broadly visited Umoja and the villages it inspired to meet with the women who were fed up with living in a violent patriarchy.

Source and credit: Broadly