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Published: October 14th 2010
Wake up time was at 5:30 a.m., because we were scheduled to do something few tourists have done. We picked up a local guide named John who directed us to an area where the Hadzabe tribe, also known as Bushmen, were temporarily camped. This is a small tribe who speak a click language, have no homes, and are nomads. John went into the brush and found them sleeping under some bushes. When we reached them they were dressed in skins and sitting around a fire straightening their arrows. They knew we were coming, so they put on some shorts that had been provided to them by the cultural visits group that lined this up for us. They live on wild meat that they hunt and the nuts and berries that the women find. We were there to follow them on a hunt. Before going on their hunt they rolled a couple of joints from their wild marijuana and passed it around their circle. For cigarette papers they used leaves from a nearby bush. There were a couple of dik dik hides and a civet cat skin drying on a baobab tree. Two of the men, a young boy, and several scroungy
dogs motioned for us to follow as they took off into the bush. We spent over an hour following their hunt, but the only thing they got was a bird. The young boy shot it through the wing with his bow and arrow. To kill it he bit the bird's neck! When they shoot at a larger animal they use arrows that are coated with a poisonous substance that comes from a specific bush. The poison spreads through the meat and makes them sick when they eat it, but they do it anyway. They eat any animal including baboons and rodents! When they have guests following the hunt they usually cook their catch and share it with the visitors. Since they only got a small bird, we didn't have to go through that experience!
Before we returned to their camp they started a small fire so they could smoke again. They're able to start a fire in about 1 minute. They shared their smoke, and even blew some into the dog's mouth! They don't build shelters, but just a little nest out of tall grass. Len participated in an archery challenge and did fairly well. Sally asked John if she
could try it, and he said "no". Apparently, women aren't part of "the club." These people are of great interest to anthropologists, and there is a great article about them in the December '09 National Geographic.
Before we left we presented them with some shirts we had brought for that purpose. We thought they were excited about having some real clothes, but John told us they'll sell them in a nearby village or trade them for something they want. The government has tried to "civilize" them, but they rejected the houses, clothes, and food; they returned to their life in the wilderness. The government has given up and decided to leave them alone. They're the only Tanzanians who aren't expected to pay taxes.
Next, we drove through a village that survives by growing red onions. The area is a desert, but they are able to dig irrigation ditches from a local spring. Because of the onion sales these people were financially ahead of the other villages. We actually saw a satellite dish and solar panel on one of the mud huts! We had to return on the same terrible road we came down yesterday. Francis stopped to show us his
They usually cook up their catch and share it with guests, but since there wasn't much, they didn't do it. Thank goodness!
childhood home. It had 4 small rooms with a dirt floor and walls made of mud and sticks. The kitchen was in another little building, and of course there was an outhouse. His cousin is living in it now. Next to the old house his father had started a more modern house, but had stopped construction when they moved to Arusha. Francis hopes to finish the house and move his family into it sometime in the future. What a day. We were amazed by our visit with the Hadzabe. We were going to have a night in a real building instead of a permanent tent, so we headed on to Ngorongoro Farmhouse in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
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