Chapter 4 examines the Batwa people of Uganda and Congo, who were displaced from their home in the mountain forest and how this displacement has jeopardized traditional ways of meaning making for them. Using ethnography and other research—including that from scholars Kairn Klieman, Yi-Fu Tuan, Andrew Lester, and Jonathan Lear—as well as observations from cultural performance we gain a sense of the life and traditions of these first peoples of Central Africa and begin to grasp how the forest framed the ways they made meaning in the world. Through European colonization that continues in the form of national park conservation we glimpse how displacement has threatened their way of life and rendered them among the most marginalized and socially excluded persons in Central Africa. Christian mission and other humanitarian aid efforts, active in Uganda and Congo, define hope for the Batwa in terms of Christian conversion, “progress,” education, and health. These western measures attempt to usurp traditional measures of hope and meaning that emerge, or once did, from their forest home.
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