Source: Africa: "Voices of the Forest"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
For thousands of years, the Baka people have lived in the rainforest of southeast Cameroon in West Africa. But now their forest is in danger from loggers cutting down a great number of trees. In this video, a delegation of Baka men walk to a town called Abong Mbang to speak with the Prefet, who is the most powerful government representative in the region. After their meeting, the Baka delegates emerge flushed with success that they will be able to manage their own forests. For more about the Baka, watch "Who are the Baka?" and "Invasion of the Modern World," part of a series of three video segments from the documentary series Africa.
Africa, culture, rainforest, analogies, references, ecosystems, Congo
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What are some things we might do when we're trying to speak persuasively?
Focus (ELA) What do the Baka try to persuade the Prefet to do?
Follow Up (ELA) Discuss some of the things the Baka could have said to the Prefet to persuade him to allow them to manage their forests themselves. What persuasive ideas might they have used to strengthen their argument?
Frame (SCI) How do you change your environment for better or worse?
Focus(SCI) How do humans change the environment in the rainforest for better or worse? How do the loggers and the Baka change the environment in different ways?
Follow Up (SCI) All organisms, including humans, cause changes in their environment. Discuss how logging could be detrimental or beneficial to humans in the rainforest. Compare the changes the loggers will make versus the changes the Baka will make.
NARRATOR: Armand and his companions are about to take on the outside world – head on. Abong Mbang is a frontier town on the edge of the forest. This is a logging town and the Baka are treated as second-class citizens here. At just four and a half feet tall, they’re an easy target for insult and ridicule. Without a telephone there was no way to make an appointment. They can’t be sure that anyone in power will see them. This is the man they need to see. The Prefet – the most powerful government representative in the region...Surprisingly, the Prefet agrees to talk to them.
PREFET: Yes, what can I do for you?
BAKA MAN: Mr Prefet, I am the president of the Bosquet association…and I have 3 committee members with me. We have a situation in the forest. We have a problem with loggers.
NARRATOR: Armand and his companions may be out of their league. They’re talking to the most powerful man in the region in a language that’s not their own – in a town sustained by logging. After two hours, they emerge.
BAKA MAN: It was good, very good news from the Prefet...We were worried but he’s reassured us. He’s agreed to let us manage our own forest.
NARRATOR: Flushed with success, the delegates head back to Bosquet to share the good news.
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