Batwa Pots in Burundi: Traditional Clay Pot Cuisine, Pt. 2 of 2

[First posted in 2009, Updated 26 October 2011]

Pt. 1 of this entry explained how Batwa pots are made, and noted that as metal and plastic enter the market, the pots are being increasingly marginalized – thus further undermining the already fragile livelihoods of the Batwa pygmy communities of central Africa.

This entry will discuss what is being done by two organizations – Lutheran World Federation-Burundi (referred to as ‘LWF’ in this post) and The Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika- by way of assisting some of the Batwa communities here in Burundi.

In a separate blog I’ve put up a recipe for a popular, indigenous dish – one that tastes great when made in a pot such as this: A Tasty Congolese Relish with Manioc Leaves – Isombe y’umwamba

Young woman displaying her handiwork

For the last couple of years the Hotel Club du lac has been purchasing Batwa pots to use throughout the hotel. This is being done with Lutheran World Federation, which is working with Batwa communities in eastern Burundi with improved housing and agricultural techniques.

Here is how we do it:

As soon as we arrive at the Batwa community, people start bringing the pots that they have made for the hotel

Pots are arranged for inspection

The selection of pots to carry back to the hotel is a serious business!

The name of each family and the number of pots is registered by LWF

Group photo of the elder women - we used this for promo and also gave copies to the women, who were thrilled to be promoting their own pots

Pots being wrapped in grass and leaves for the return trip

Everyone helps to wrap and carefully pack the pots in the back of the LWF pick-up, for the long trip back to Bujumbura. From the Batwa community in the East of Burundi, it is six hours travel to Bujumbura.

The return route to Bujumbura, passing a field of manioc. The manioc was planted last year with the assistance of LWF.

Some observations from older and younger members of the Batwa community with whom we are working:

"Our grandfathers told us that the Batwa were here well before the others (Hutu or Tutsi groups)... The Batwa have always been the potters; not having houses..."

"We need to have land. I mean, we need to have ownership of land so that we can farm and raise livestock. Now, we are just living on government land where we were told to go."

"I would like to study and to find work. I wish to have the same chances as the others..."

"I hope to have some land. I would like to marry a nice girl and have salaried work."

An earlier post contains some of these pictures, but in a different context: Humanitarian Assistance & Neocolonialism

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About diana buja

A recent group photo at a training course for veterinarians and vet technicians here in Burundi. I discuss in French with some Kirundi and have also a Kirundi translator to help with technical aspects ... Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-General, Batwa, Burundi, Cuisine, Food, Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika2, Humanitarian Assistance, Recipes, Third World and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Batwa Pots in Burundi: Traditional Clay Pot Cuisine, Pt. 2 of 2

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