Since Chris Tibedo’s tale first came to our attention last month, the importance of having a place to call home has been underlined in no uncertain terms.
Home in a literal sense, home as a notion, a place to hang our hats, somewhere to rest our heads.
In Providence, RI, Chris remains under canvas, for now, at least.
But further afield, fortunes are changing for some other people precious to us – people unmet, but not people unattached to ourselves and to our cause.
These special people are Pygmies, the indigenous Twa tribe from Central Africa, displaced and disenfranchised, homeless in a different sense, but homeless nevertheless.
The Twa have had nowhere to call home for a long time now, not since 1976, in fact, but the signs are that an enduring nightmare is, at long last, coming to an end.
For soon, it seems, a long-held dream will be realized.
No more mistreatment. No more marginalization.
The vision. The village. The community. The home.
Thanks, in the main, to the efforts of our good friends Margaret Johnson and Betty Merner, like us, Rhode Island residents, the funds are in place to purchase the land required to establish a permanent homeland for the Twa people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
That means no more living on borrowed land. It means no more living on borrowed time.
Since being evicted from the Kahuzi Biega National Park 35 years ago, the Twa have been unable to settle, unable to put down roots, unable to find a place to hang their hats or rest their heads.
No longer, thanks to Margaret and Betty, thanks to the Mirzas, Donna and Emily, whose efforts in Spain this summer, trekking El Camino de Santiago, raised so much for the cause.
Thanks to everyone who purchased a Pygmy OM from us here in Saunderstown, all proceeds having gone into the Pygmy Land Project pot. Thanks to so many, known and unknown, from near and from far.
Thanks also to other organizations, Zerofootprint, Green Beat and Canadian Ape Alliance who, having begun their own fundraising effort, this the Pygmy Farming Project, have, in recent weeks, agreed to join forces with Margaret and Betty, the combined funds sufficient to get this project over the line.
You see, underneath it all, it’s all about connection.
These groups together – united, as one, striving for a shared goal – these groups have made the difference.
Such a difference it’ll be too. Expulsion from their forest homes has cost the Twa people much – access to food, shelter and medical resources – but with land to call their own, with the tools and knowledge required to establish a new way of life, things are looking up for a neglected community, struggling to survive, striving for security, for peace, for a home.
It looks as though they’ll soon have it.
The funds in place, the search for suitable land has begun in earnest, a 25-acre plot being sought.
From there, everything else should fall into place: Farming, schools, healthcare, the things that are taken for granted here, the things that for the Twa people have, until now, been but hopes and dreams.
Here in our studio, the progress made on this project in recent times could not be more inspiring.
Here’s to harmonious living.
Here’s to home.
Here’s to all involved in making this a reality, but above all here’s to the Twa and to a brighter future.
We are all connected.