Glossary of Terms
More detailed descriptions of the terms below are found in the journal entries where they are first mentioned. Although not a comprehensive list, this is just an informal quick reference guide to help my precious few readers with words which are repeated throughout the Central African Republic journal.
Angelique- British woman who is project director of the tourism and habituation programs.
bai- Marshy forest clearing which only occur in rainforests of west and central Africa; a variety of wildlife congregate here to access water and minerals within the soil. (French- saline)
BaAka- A tribe of pygmies which are found in west central Africa; they work as our trackers at Bai Hokou - The bai which our main camp is based at in the forest. Hokou means hole, after the large cave that elephants have excavated in this bai to access salt and minerals.
Bangui- The capital city of the Central African Republic
Bara- Czech parasitiologist who is assisting Kat with research.
Bayanga- The closest village where the WWF offices are; it's also our re-supply town; 90 minute drive from Bai Hokou on a gutted dirt track, longer in the wet season.
bilo- A term used to describe all Bantu people. Essentially, it's all the local Africans (non-pygmy)
blackback- A subadult male gorilla aged 8-12 who is maturing at the developmental stage just prior to becoming a silverback.
CAR- Acronym for Central African Republic
djele- A thorny vine occurring in abundance here which characterizes ebuka.
Dzanga Sangha- The name of the region in the extreme southwest corner of the country which comprises a lowland tropical rainforest and contains the Dzanga-Ndoki national parks and surrounding reserve. I work at Bai Hokou, which is in the Dzanga sector of the national park.
ebuka- Dense thicket of vines found in the understory of the forest; often characterized by djele.
Fidel- Local guy who works as camp guardian (caretaker) of Mongambe camp
habituation- the process of slowly approaching an animal(s) incrementally closer over time until it/they accept the presence of humans as neutral observers in their habitat without altering their natural behaviors. It affords research and tourism opportunities and is usually conducted with African great apes.
Kat- British primatologist (Katherine) who is researching stress hormones in gorillas
koli oko- Sango term meaning, one male. Used to describe lone male silverback's.
Makumba- The dominant breeding male (silverback) of our habituated gorilla family at Bai Hokou.
Malapa- A type of emergent tree found here which occurs in mosaic pattern throughout the forest here; ground cover and understory under Malapa forest is typically clear.
matanga- Local term meaning party or celebration.
Mayele- The dominant breeding male (silverback) of our habituated gorilla family at Mongambe.
molenge- Locally made wine from the raffia palm which nearly all locals drink in copious amounts
Mongambe- The second smaller forest camp, located about 10 miles from Bai Hokou. Habituated gorilla family of Mayele is based here.
munzu- Local term used to describe all white people.
njaku- Biting ants found all over the forest here; called safari ants in Africa or army ants in the new tropics (also known as driver ants)
Paolo- Local guy who manages the Mongambe camp
panji- Local term used to describe the act of purposely leaving traces in the forest to enable others to find the way; often done by breaking saplings, marking the ground, and leaving twigs on the ground at a forked paths.
Pedro- Volunteer based at Mongambe camp who is from Portugal. (boyfriend of Ulla)
Sango- The national language of CAR, spoken by all tribes. (French is the official language).
Ulla- Volunteer based at Mongambe camp who is from Austria. (girlfriend of Pedro)
tracker- A BaAka pygmy who works on the project whose job is to help us find and follow the gorillas; they also act as escorts in the forest for their knowledge as well as elephant sentries.
WWF- World Wildlife Fund, the project I work for; international conservation NGO.