James Wooldridge Photojournalism James Wooldridge Photojournalism

benon and zawadi

  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Benon (left) and Zawadi live with their three children, Daisy (pictured), Bosco and Maqulin, in the village of Karehe, near the Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest of southwestern Uganda. They are a family of Batwa Pygmies, a tribe indigenous to the forest. Like many of the Batwa, Benon struggles with alcoholism.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Benon crosses a stream near Karehe, a Batwa village. The ridge behind him is the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest, his ancestral home. The Ugandan government evicted the last of the Batwa from the forest with no compensation in 1991 to protect the mountain gorillas. In many ways, these conservation refugees have yet to recover. Today, Batwa people rarely have access to their forest, which is mostly used for gorilla trekking.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Benon, top, and other Batwa Pygmies perform and demonstrate their traditional culture for tourists in the Community Walk near the Bwindi Forest. Many tourists tip the performers after the tour, not knowing their money will largely be used to buy drinks at the bars.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Benon drinks waragi, a local banana gin, at a bar in Buhoma, the town adjacent to his Batwa settlement.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Daisy, Zawadi and Benon's youngest daughter, leaves their tiny mud hut as Zawadi weaves baskets to sell to tourists outside. The family of five squeezes into this tiny home to sleep each night. All Batwa in Karehe live in tiny mud huts like this one, although many acknowledge that Zawadi and Benon are most in need of a new home. All three of their children sleep on the bed on the right.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Zawadi gives her children Bosco (left), Macklin and Daisy haircuts in the yard of the Redemption Song Foundation, where she works. This American-established organization is aimed at helping the children of Karehe. When school is out, the children spend their days wandering the streets and playing in the Foundation's yard while their parents drink at the bars. Zawadi is the only adult in Karehe who doesn't drink, and she is the only one with a job.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Benon digs an outhouse for the chairman of the community. Batwa often take odd jobs like this to make money for alcohol. For a short day of work, Benon made 5,000 shillings, or about $1.50; more than enough to get him drunk.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Benon sits by the fire with his family after coming home drunk. Benon sometimes beats his wife and children, especially, but not only, when he is drunk.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Macklin looks through her school notebooks for a blank one to write in. Although Benon and the children are rarely home during the day, just a few days prior Benon returned home during the day, found Macklin and hit her.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Zawadi takes a break from working in her garden before heading to work.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Benon lies passed out in a bar. Sometimes he doesn't make it home at night.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Zawati sings and prays during Church. She takes her kids every Sunday, but Benon rarely makes it. Zawadi has asked him to stop drinking, but he doesn't.
  • benon and zawadi - James Wooldridge Photojournalism
    Zawadi sits with Bosco while cooking dinner. She has considered leaving Benon, but she would have nowhere to go if she did. With a house and land of her own, Zawadi, and other Batwa victims of abuse, may have the power to leave their spouses.