DOBES Archive

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Angéline, Clarisse, and Bvuraga are sitting together, as Bagyeli children usually do for meals that they take separately from the adults, eating bread. A group of mostly men is sitting together next to the children in the hut. Tata is talking about the bad state of their huts, that the documentation team can see with their own eyes, and the need to build new houses. The men raise concern about the construction of the port and its impact on their village as they anticipate that roads and bridges will be built passing their village. A Bulu street vendor sells fried bean cakes to the Bagyeli and places the pot with the cakes in front of Nandtoungou. Aminu helps distributing them to the children while some men are smoking and drinking alcohol from plastic sachets. Ngolo and Segyua discuss the price with the Bulu vendor (this conversation is in Bulu with the money values in French). Ada, Ntemba, and Nadine are looking at some hornbills that are flying by, discussing which ones of the different types they are.
Nadine is handing out photos she has taken during the last days and weeks and that she had developed in town. She now distributes them making sure everyone gets their picture. The more the Bagyeli watch their pictures, the more excited they become.
Ngolo Dorothée explains how the Bagyeli train their dogs for hunts. She says that they start when the dogs are very small, using mainly positive reinforcement through rewards. They also use a kind of bell made out of a snail shell that they hang around the dog's neck so that they can hear the dog in the rain forest. Mama and Mambi demonstrate the snail bell with a larger dog, while Ngolo is accompanied by a puppy called Bubule ("ball"). Mambi explains that they give palm nuts as a reward to dogs. Bubule, however, is first hesitant to take the nut as he is afraid of the camera. The group is joined by some children, including Angéline and Minse, while some men still hang out on the benches in the village center where Djiedjhie is talking with Ada and Segyua is splitting nuts with a machete. Mambi and Mama then demonstrate sounds that animals that they hunt make and the signals that the Bagyeli use for specific types of animals. Mama demonstrates what he does when he crosses path with a Boa in the rain forest--the Bagyeli like to reenact situations rather than just explaining them.
Nadine and Christopher have brought a football as a gift to the village. Bvuraga and his friends are playing with it between the huts. Some men sit on the benches in the village center and watch them, amused. They get Nadine involved in kicking the ball as well, and then later the older boys Mama and Mambi. Mama and a Bulu man later practice to kick the ball with their heads, using bamboo sticks as goals.
The documentation team arrives in Ngolo. Some villagers help unload the car with the equipment and bring it to a hut. As the guests arrive, the villagers gather, waiting for what will happen, as a public viewing of documentary videos has been planned. The villagers and the team walk over to a school building that is under construction. Nadine and Dan are hanging a white bed sheet over a beam that will serve as a screen. In the meantime, the Bagyeli assemble in front of the screen. Djiedjhie explains what the team is doing and Ada plays with the top of a snail shell that he uses as a top in the sand. Djiedjhie hands out bread as a snack and Délégué, who cannot speak, shows is appreciation non-verbally. More and more Bagyeli arrive and settle in, waiting for the videos to start.
Ada fetches the rifle from his hut, where it is locked away, to show to the documentation team. He explains that he borrows it from a Bulu farmer. In return, he gives the farmer a share of the hunted animals. Ada mainly uses to hunted animals for food for his family. If they have more than they can eat and share with the farmer, they sell the animals by the road. With the money, Ada buys new ammunition for the rifle. He goes on saying that he is a lot more efficient hunting with a rifle than hunting traditionally with spears and nets.
Nadine arrives in the village and greets the children and Délégué in his hut. Some children are opening the fruit of the Indian almond tree with a rock and eat the inside. Délégué and Ntemba set up plactic chairs in a hut for people to sit on as it is raining.
Ada explains that he is happy to work for SOCAPALM, a palm oil company, where he has a contract for day labor. Djiedjhie then asks him about his parents and siblings and wife. Ada calls the family members who are there: his parents Nze and Ngolo, his younger sister Aminu with her daughter Linda, and his older brother Apato. Nadine is taking notes of names and kinship words. Ngolo then continues to explain her family relations, naming her siblings and pointing out that her younger brother Délégué lives in the first house at the village entrance. Aminu and Djiedjhie are teasing Piano for not being married yet.
A few young boys have joined Tsimbo in the kitchen and help with cutting the animals open. Bepa cuts open the back and the head of the antilope with a machete and a stick while Ntemba explains what they are doing. After cleaning out the intestines, Bepa sharpens some sticks that are used to stretch out the antilope. One large stick is poked lengthwise into the antilope and two across and then the animal is put on a grit over the fire for smoking. Délégué cleans the wild cat, scraping of remnants of burnt fur with a knife. He sharpens his knife and opens the wild cat. Unlike the antilope, it is cut on the belly (and not the back), just like it is done with monkeys. The intestines are removed and the inside is then washed out with water from a bowl. It is then placed on the grit over the fire, next to the antilope, and both are covered with a metal piece. It is then decided to smoke the animals over Mangome's rather than Tsimbo's fire and the animals are being transferred and covered with some dried palm leaves. Apato tells Christopher to turn around so that he sees how Mangome makes the fire.
When Nadine and Christopher arrive in Ngolo, Apato and Segyua bring a wheelbarrow to transport the sack of rice that they have brought. Meanwhile, Ada sharpens long sticks with a machete to make practice spears. He explains that the game is called "ngyendo" and consists of rolling a slice of a tree trunk while others, mostly children, try to hit the moving target with their practice spear. Ntemba Marin still sharpens spear heads in the background. Djiedjhie interviews Ada and Ntemba further about the game, pointing out that the Mabi also have a version of this game. Then a few men demonstrate how "ngyendo" works, under the cheering laughter of watching villagers. Finally, also the children play the game.
After the dancing ceremony has come to a close, the music has generally stopped, but some villagers such as Bekanda Jeanne are still singing to themselves. The Bagyeli take blades of grass and tie them around each person's neck which is supposed to protect them against the spirit of the mask. Then everybody returns to the middle of the village. Ngyemba sits down and plays a thumb piano while the villagers are conversing. They start to say goodbye to the visitors as they prepare to leave Ngolo, going back to Kribi. Some last minute requests are being made about what people like to have (money) and what Nadine should bring next time she comes as she is handed a baby.
After a long struggle with the generator which was supposed to provide electricity for the projector, Nadine shows the videos on her laptop. While watching the videos, the inhabitants of Ngolo comment freely on what they see and express their joy about the videos. Especially appreciated is the video about the honey collection of 2011 (in the procedural/observational collection) and the honey sharing afterwards.
The Bagyeli of Ngolo watch videos that have been captured in 2011 and 2012. After having shown videos from Ngolo, Nadine now also shows videos from Bibira, a Gyeli village in the Mabi contact region, for instance how the Bibira healer Ngyamba unfolds a long net used for hunting. Instead of retrieving the shown videos and their situations from memory, the audience now discusses what they see. The showing of the "Bapeya" dance and its impressive highlight, the dance in the palm tree, (in the Music and dance collection) causes a lot of excitement as well as watching their dogs.
Aminu starts wrapping the nut and chilli paste into banana leaves by placing two leaves together and removing the hard part of the stem. When the nut paste is rolled into the leaves, the leaf bundle is then formed into a triangle and tied together at the top. Muadjina and Mbang are helping her as the villagers are generally still sitting together in the hut, hanging out and conversing. Aminu then lights the fire, explaining what she is doing and pointing out that this is the kitchen stove of the Bagyeli. She is using empty "Lion d'Or" (local alcohol) sachets as combustible. She then sets a pot on the fire stones filled with the wrapped nut paste. She pours water over the wraps until they are covered. They are steamed for about an hour and then removed from the pot. Nandtoungou, Muadjina, and Mbang distribute and open the wraps which contain three parts due to the folding into a triangle. Mbang carries one bowl with nut bread packages to her hut where another group of people is seated. She unties one that she deems good; the bread is distributed amongst the people and children who are present. It is generally eaten warm.
Tsimbo is bringing fire wood, a huge bamboo trunk that she balances on her head. Bernadette, Pauline, and Bvuraga break the bamboo apart by hitting it with the back of a machete or sticks. Some bamboo pieces are brought to the burning kitchen fire and added to the burning wood. The children explain that there is breadfruit in the pot on the fire that is cooking. Ngolo and Aminu lift the lid off the pot and carry the heavy pot to the side. They remove the banana leaved that covered the breadfuit pieces under the lid. Aminu tries the cooked breadfruit and then starts distributing it into different pots and bowls for different people. Poga comes and helps her and Ngolo. Aminu's daughter Linda starts eating breadfruit with boiled palm nuts. Aminu shows how breadfruit and palm nuts are eaten together. Also the other children start eating and also Piano gets his share. After the pots are empty, Ngolo shows how she cleans the dishes with a bundle of grass and water, while Poga is pounding cassava in the background.
Aminu and Mimbe are washing and scaling fish in a bowl with water. The fish will be boiled in water with salt, lemon, and chilli and is also a typical dish amongst the Mabi who do extensive fishing in the ocean (while the Bagyeli mostly fish in rivers and creeks in the rain forest.) Mimbe grinds chilli between stones and Muadjina adds green herbs. While the fish is boiling, the family still sits together in the kitchen and converses. Mbang cuts an onion with a machete in her hand while Poga is watching her. She then peels and cuts cassava, also with a machete in her hand. Nandtoungou checks if the fish is done.
After the "ngyendo" game that is played to practice spear throwing for the hunt, more and more women have come together on the benches in the village center to watch the others play. Some men (Ada, Segyua, Bepa, and Mama) congregate on the side while Ada shows how he makes the targets for the "ngyendo" game by cutting slices of a tree trunk with a machete. Mama sits on the other side of the tree trunk to stabilize it. While Ada is explaining the process to Nadine, he and the other Bagyeli are also freely talking.
After the public viewing of documentary videos, the Bagyeli disperse again either going into their huts or hanging out on the benches in the village center under the Indian almond tree. Nadine and Djiedjhie gather with Aminu, Nze, Tsimbo, Délégué, Ngolo, Nandtoungou, and a few children in a hut to discuss what else should be filmed in the next days.
Some villagers in Ngolo are sitting in a circle in a hut as it is raining and the normal seating area under the Indian almond tree in the village center is too wet. Ada arrives and greets the people who are already seated. Palm wine is brought in a canister and shared among the people as it is tradition in this region, also among the farming Bantu neighbors. Ada has his daughters Clarisse and Jacky on his lap who snuggle. Tata opens some plastic sachets with strong local alcohol and pours them into the canister with the palm wine, then the children get to suck the last drops out of the empty sachets. Nandtoungou and Ada talk about how they make a living. Nandtoungou says that she lives and works in the village and that she has some cassava fields. Ada occasionally works at SOCAPALM, a palm oil plantation.
Mambi and Mama are stretching the plastic bag over the drum body and tie it with a vine. In order to fasten it tight, Mambi sows the plastic to the vine with a wooden needle and a string.