Thomas also loves to hunt with the pygmies as they gather food for their families from the remaining forest in the Central African Republic. The Pygmies are now learning to grow gardens and fruit trees to supplement their diets as the forest is no longer what it used to be and they must travel weeks to get the meat and wild fruit that used to be all around them.
Missionary Jim Hocking, whose organization Integrated Community Development International (ICDI) assists missionaries in Africa, sends an updated report on well-drilling in the Central African Republic and especially in the southern forest areas where the Pygmies live.
Hocking says, “Because of the work of Thomas Martenson, they understand the dangers of drinking river water and have wanted to have better drinking water. This village has watched as many of their younger children have died from lack of pure drinking water and from nutritional needs.
“ICDI has been helping Thomas work in this area in both this area as well as in the area of community projects. Thomas has grown to love these people over the past 4 years. He hunts, fishes and hunts honey with the pygmies on a regular basis building relationships to a degree that they fully trust him.
“ICDI has been thrilled to be able to add value to both these forgotten people of the forest as well as to Thomas Martenson and his family who live in the tropical rain forest in the southern most tip of the Central African Republic.”
Regarding the drilling of water wells, Hocking says, “The team is out on some very difficult roads right now. Sometimes huge trees are across the road and with the heavy trucks they are traveling with it can sometimes take days to get trucks in and out of locations.
“They have completed wells at two locations in the forest where people had very poor water sources. The forest has been one of the hardest areas in the Central African Republic to drill and yet it is where the most needy people are.
“Sickness and death are often caused by poor sanitation and lack of clean water. The team is currently working in Moale, CAR, very near the Congo border, drilling for that village. They are over 300 feet deep and still no water. They will continue to drill until we run out of drill pipes trusting that when they strike water it will come back up to a level where we can pump it out with manual pumps.
“There is no electricity in these villages. Will you pray for water for these villages?”
More information about ICDI is available at: http://www.icdinternational.org.
Barb Wooler, Grace Brethren International Missions missionary who has done pioneering literacy, evangelism, and church-planting work with the Pygmies, left Winona Lake, Indiana, on Friday and arrived in Bangui, CAR, Sunday morning.
While in Africa she will coordinate GBIM’s orphan-care project and will spend several weeks with the Pygmies assessing their progress in literacy, Bible knowledge, and preparation for church-planting in the forest.