Leaving a Life of Wandering

October 1, 2014 • Democratic Republic of the Congo
Leaving a Life of Wandering

A pygmy man in the Congo gives up his nomadic lifestyle for the stability of farming

Saleh Mumbute is part of a group of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo called pygmies. Like others in his group, he has spent his life as a hunter and gatherer to support his seven children, but recent circumstances introduced hardships into his life.

Like other pygmies, I had been living a nomadic lifestyle for a long time, surviving by hunting and gathering. But with recent government regulations on animal protection, along with the invasion of our forest by loggers and those economically displaced, hunting has been made absolutely impossible. Nobody wanted to let us continue living in the forest, so we were forced to move to camps on the outskirts of villages where we had to live like displaced people.

Leaving a Life of Wandering

Saleh (center) and his family stand in front of their home. He hopes to soon build a house of sheet metal to fulfill his wife’s dreams.

Life became hard for my family and me. Our survival depended on odd jobs for neighbors and local farmers who rarely paid well for our work. My family went through so many painful moments. Even just finding food was terribly difficult. I had to become a vagabond. Most of my children were weak and always sick because of the lack of food and medical care.

Samaritan’s Purse came into our camp and helped me realize that with God’s support and my own determination, I could escape this miserable life. Samaritan’s Purse gave me seeds for beans, and for the first time in my entire life, I now have my own field and garden.

The harvest of beans has allowed me to provide enough food for my family and for our other household needs. Later on, Samaritan’s Purse also gave me a tarp and more seeds for peanuts, corn, and beans, all of which I’ve planted. I have always lived a nomadic lifestyle, but today, because of the blessings of Samaritan’s Purse, I have an identity and a fixed address; I’ve been given a home—my own little place—that absolutely everyone in the village knows belongs to me.

Once I had land, I left the camp and built several huts on my new big field, where I now live with my family. My little brother lives and cultivates here too. I invited him to join me and cease his life of wandering. With the help of Samaritan’s Purse, now I can feed my family without being exploited. It’s a miracle.

With God’s help, soon I hope to build a home out of sheet metal, because it’s my wife’s biggest dream to raise her children in a real house and live like a respectable lady. I’m deeply touched by the support of Samaritan’s Purse; they’ve truly shown that God loves my entire family.

Two other households of pygmies have also begun farming with me. I am convinced that several more will be drawn to my new life and will give up their nomadic lifestyles of idleness in exchange for the stability of farming. God bless you in what you do.