Central African Republic
In early 2020, in Central African Republic, we worked again, for the third time, with with GMbC fellows Alain Fezeu (right) and Vanessa Juimo (center) who travelled from Cameroon to collaborate with the team of Dr. Ernest Lango-Yaya (second from right) from the National Laboratory in Bangui.
Hmong, a teenager living in the highlands of northern Thailand, dressed for a folk dance performance at a festival celebrating their traditions and culture.
We worked with Maniq hunter-gathers living near Phatthalung Province in Thailand. There are only a few hundred Maniq and we were fortunate to spend time in one of their villages to learn more about how they make a living in local forests.
A Bedik village in southeastern Senegal. Bedik people have developed specific cultures and lifestyles to work synergistically with their surrounding and still preserved, environment.
For the very first time we worked with a community living in a warm, sandy, desert area. A few km away from Diama, at the border between Senegal and Mauritania, we worked with villagers of a Moors community.
In March 2019, after a year of planning and preparation to obtain all of the proper visas, authorizations, and ethical permits for our work, we met in person with our Malaysian collaborators. We engaged in a Memorandum of Agreement ceremony between the University of Malaya and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country. In the capital, Kuala Lumpur, we worked with Malay, Chinese and Indians people.
We worked with Batek villagers based out of Gua Musang, Malaysia. This community is fairly remote, living on the edge of a forest that supports their hunter gatherer lifestyle.
Commuting to a sample site can sometimes be logistically very challenging! Here’s the GMbC team boating to a Jahai village in Royal Belum State Park, Malaysia which is only accessible by water. Video credit: C. Corzett
In Okoroba village, located in Cross River State, we worked with Efik and Ibibio peoples whose homes are often spread out so families could be close to their crops (primarily cassava).
In the capital, Kigali, local markets are stocked with a wide variety of fresh meats and produce. However, on an evolutionary timescale, markets like these are a relatively recent change in human diet and lifestyle. Photo credit: C. Corzett
Fiber-rich foods, like these beans being sorted in a small village north of Rubavu, can help feed the microbial ecosystem living inside of us.
Scientists at the National Reference Laboratory in Kigali, Rwanda, reviewing bacterial DNA extraction protocols with GMbC team leader M. Poyet.
While we were in Rwanda, a group of local teachers invited us to visit their school – which we were impressed to learn they had literally built with their own hands. We spent a wonderful couple of hours touring the school and chatting with teachers and students, who gave us a very warm welcome. Video credit: C. Corzett
Fante fishermen pulling their canoe to shore on Ampenyi beach, Ghana. Reduced catches now pose a major socio-economic challenge for many rural communities in the Gulf of Guinea.
Hadza women pound baobab seeds to make a nutritious flour that can then be mixed with water and other ingredients like honey and dried herbs to make a filling porridge.
Early 2018, we worked with the Datoga people and learned how the community was maintaining traditional aspects of their pastoralist lifestyles (including traditional garments, jewelry, and earthen homes) while also quickly adopting new technologies.
Hadza men collecting honey from a beehive in the trunk of a baobab tree. The men first smoked the hive to pacify the bees, then climbed the tree using wooden stakes that they drove into the trunk. Video credit: C. Corzett
Baobab seeds are an important part of the Hadza diet. Hadza women use rocks to break the hard outer shell of dried baobab seeds, then pound the seeds into a fine meal. This powder is then sifted using a stiff piece of dried leather to remove shell fragments. Video credit: C. Corzett
In the rainforests of southeastern Cameroon, we worked with BaAka hunter-gatherers. With the support of Etienne Sakassi (at the center), a local spokesman and translator, we learned how they live off the resources of the forest. The BaAka way of life relies heavily on hunting and fishing as well as gathering honey and plants for nutrition and traditional medicine.
BaAka huts are called móngulu. They are typically one-
The indigenous Sami people live in Lapland, the largest and northernmost region of Finland.
Resolute Bay, Canada is one of the Arctic’s northernmost communities, and one of the coldest inhabited places on earth.
In 2017, we worked with Inuit people in the northernmost part of Canada. Since the Inuits are fishers and hunters, their diet is very high in animal protein and fat, which shapes their unique gut microbiome.
For our very first sampling trip early 2017, we collaborated closely with scientists from Chief Dull Knife College, Montana, to recruit participants from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.