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Justin Wren’s African Adventure

Justin Wren was one of the contestants on the heavyweights season of The Ultimate Fighter. After washing out of the UFC, he went a bit crazy and gave up a life of fighting on regional MMA cards as UFC veteran filler to become a Christian missionary and help people and stuff. Nuts, I know. He could be making high three figure payouts and banging ring girls but instead he’s going to Africa and experiencing stuff like this:

The last 3 weeks I have had the opportunity to learn, love and live with The Mbuti Pygmies. I was in the deep parts of the second largest rainforest in the world.

Some highlights:
•I was accepted as a friend in 8 Mbuti Pygmy villages in the Ituri rainforest
•I was accepted as family in 2 of villages and was even given my own Pygmy name.
•The chief and my new brother named me “Efeosa” which means “The man who loves us.”
•It seems crazy to me but even many of the chief’s in the deep forest had only heard of, but never seen a person with white skin. MANY people ran and hid behind trees or dove into their huts until finding we were friendly.
•I slept in 4 foot tall leaf huts during the rainy season of the rainforest.
•I got to TRULY love and share life with the unloved people of the Congo jungle
•I got to pay for Bongo’s senior year of school and his state exam’s before the school year starts… He can now be one of the first Mbuti Pygmies to ever get a diploma.
•Sponsoring a water well (water source is being searched for now.)
•The Pygmies chased out and killed a black mamba that was in the hut next to me.

Hardest point…
•digging the grave and burying Andibo, a Mbuti Pygmy who was only 1 and a half years old.

According to Wren, the boy died because they couldn’t afford the treatment for whatever illness he had – something that would never happen in a civilized society, right??? It gets worse – apparently the pygmies are essentially slaves to another group of people in the area called the Bantu. As such, they’re treated like dirt and letting sick pygmies die rather than spending the 15 dollars on medication to heal them is common practice. Africa sounds swell, huh?

Check out Wren’s complete tale over at the Underground.