In October, retired heavyweight fighter Justin Wren left the comforts of the USA, and headed for the Congo. He is spending a year trying to free 1,000 Mbuti Pygmy slaves. His Fight for the Forgotten project is bartering their freedom, moving them onto already-purchased land, providing clean water, and teaching them self-sustainable skills.
Wren's story is being being chronicled by SI MMA writer and New York Times bestselling author Loretta Hunt. Howard Books, the Christian imprint of Simon & Schuster, has bought the book, which will be titled Fight for the Forgotten.
In November Wren had to overcome Typhoid Fever, Malaria, and diarhea, the three greatest killers of the MButi people, who suffer from perhaps the shortest lifespan on Earth.
Now he negotiating for the return of equipment stolen by bandits.
In some real need...
Edited: 03/29/14 1:31 AM
Member Since: 10/23/08
I wanted to update you guys with something great, me having the $3,000 water filter the UG donated to me from crowdfunding for my drill team, in the jungle, with it working, while we were working to get my Pygmy family water. I can't do that quite yet.
I'm in some real NEED... Last night was NUTS! It really feels like we are encountering a tangible darkness. Eastern Congo really is a crazy, and evil place. So if you read on, please send up a prayer (if you are the praying type).
My team had two accidents in one day...
To start, a motobike carrying THREE children T-boned our Fight For The Forgotten truck. A little boy (that was sitting on the freaking gas tank right below the handle bars...) Had to get stitches in his head. Everyone else had minor injuries.
Our team coming with 6 bags of tools ($15,000 of equipment) AND the $3,000 solar water filter the UG sent us was in an accident when traveling from Uganda... The taxi truck flipped, threw three of them from the back, injured them, and the truck flipped a few times, and crushed and killed a woman......... (Prayers for the family!) The taxi driver (injured) fled fearing "mob justice" and that he'd be killed (he was probably going to be killed). Our guys were left alone, not knowing the language, in a dangerous/remote part of Congo. Some former militia men (who were involved in basically a genocide back in early 2000 in Congo) looted the car, stole our drilling equipment, stole the solar water filter, and the villagers told our guys to flee for/hobble to safety. The locals didn't find the driver (at least yet) so a mob formed outside the police hut (made of mud, no windows, and a thatch roof) and they had to evacuate our guys to another near by village. It's been raining like crazy here, roads are MUD and it may take 5-10 hours to get to them and then to get them out of there.
Please be praying for our teams safety, all injured, and for wisdom, and love for our team leader who is moving in to find these guys and maybe/hopefully recollect some of our needed water well tools.
Some of the bags have been located and some of the Congolese "military" is ready to help us negotiate to get our tools back. The problem is that they could very well look like gold digging tools in an area that is very mineral rich and gold towns have been springing up in that area in the last few months. We sent the director of the school of Development for the local university up their to plead our case (with a pocket full of $1,000) and get our guys back first, and our tools back second.
Times like this show me the name FIGHT For The Forgotten was the right choice, everyday is truly a fight... and last night was nuts... And I'm saddened for the loss of life, and our injured guys. Stolen goods can always be replaced. Lives cannot. Our guys are not safe yet, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Our guys say they are safe, which is good because we got a call from an out of breath teammate who said he was completely abandoned by his escort that was suppose to lead him to negotiate to get the bags back and then he had to run away because he was deserted in the dark, but could see some of the bad guys.
We will know about what we can recover a little later.
dude from all I see u think is time to get that fu--- out of Congo it seems so f---ed up there and I'm I ln honest fear for your safety and the safety if your team.
My team is Congolese, where are they going to go?
As crazy as it seems, there are some of the absolute best people I've ever met in this country, and those guys comprise my team.
I'm here for a reason, a purpose, and we will roll with the punches.
What's more safe... Living a comfortable life but with no real, significant purpose... Or living a life where there are some dangers, but the outcome will be life changing, and even life saving for some.
My team is seeing slaves set free bro, legitimatly. Probably over 300 now and we are getting ready to move 1,000 people onto knew land, that they own, legally, for the first time, and it was done peacefully. Se are blessing both sides as a "project of development" and we are giving clean water to the former slaves, and former slavemasters, as well as purchasing land from the former slavemasters.
I don't expect everyone to agree with what we are doing. But everyone takes risk everyday, mine are calculated, and most of all, purposeful.
We have recovered our guys, and 5 of the 6 bags of tools are in the hands of the local military...
The ONLY thing missing is the Pelican Case of the water filter the UG raised money for! They stole it, busted it open (we had it locked), thinking it may have money or minerals in it. We have the phone number of the guy who said he may meet us to give it back (for a price) but we don't know what condition it's in.
I just prayed that u get some sense and leave the Kongo while u still can.
You be careful bub... I'll send Grandmaster Leung to knock some sense into you to leave your mothers basement while you still can.
TUF Guy 69
Justin, with all due respect, what drew you to of all places on Earth that can use some help, you chose a place perhaps best known for its virulent hemorrhagic fever that carries a +/- 90% mortality rate.
Again, not being disresctful of your deeds as they are truly based upon the good in your heart, just oddly curious as to the reasoning behind the choice of locales.
Thanks for the heads up...
And I almost died of Malaria, typhoid, and blackwater fever... But it was/is totally worth it when we see the reward/outcome/fruit that is coming out of Congo for my Pygmy family.
300 people are no longer SLAVES and they are all about to have CLEAN water on their land (2,470 ACRES) that they OWN for the first time in history. Pretty freaking sweet! Also, in the next 3 months we plan to take the total to 1,400 Mbuti Pygmies that live free, on their own land, drinking safe water, and farming/hunting food for themselves.
MMA gear now available at the UG Store