Friday, 28 September 2012

Hunting with the Hadzabe Bushmen

Today we got up extra early (5am) as we were going to go hunting with the Hadzabe bushmen out in the bush.  I was amazed that our driver could find his way as we were driving on nothing more than cow paths and dry river beds.  I did ask how he knew which way to go and was told that he was informed of a sighting of the bush men and it was delivered to him last night.  Now we were traveling thru the bush looking for them so that we may join them for a hunt for their breakfast.   The Hadzabe our the last known true African hunter/gathers, and are similar ethnically and lingustically to the San bushmen of southern Africa.  They have shun all modern conveniences and prefer to live completely off the land.  We were told that at one time the Tanzanian government tried to bring the bushmen into the towns but they would not stay as they preferred their wandering lifestyle.
here we are leaving our car behind and walking into the bush looking for the bushmen's camp site

We found the bushmen and were greeted with this lovely view.  Baboon skulls

The bushmen gathering around their morning fire.  We were told they were planning their hunting strategy

The women of the camp were sitting around a different camp fire as is the custom of the tribe

Dik Dik meat hanging from the trees to dry

dead Dik Dik waiting to be skinned and the meat dried

Off we go following the bushmen further into the bush.  I will admit for a very brief moment I wondered how wise we were to go even further into the bush on foot with unknown people. Our guide also went with us and help interpret what was happening

bushmen wearing Baboon skin.  We were told that normally they wear loin cloths but the Tanzanian government insisted that they wear shorts or trousers, and it was law.
A Baobab tree.  We were told the bush women gather the fruit and make a sweet paste from it.

Inside of the Baobab fruit.  The white pieces are what are eaten.  I tried it and it is a taste you need to grow up on I think

After watching our guide break into the Baobab fruit Little Man gave it a try.  Neither child would try tasting the fruit inside but loved opening the fruit.

the bushmen could walk/run very fast so it wasn't long before we lost sight of them

Here our guides are whistling trying to locate the bushmen (who are probably laughing about the slowness of the white people)  eventually the bushmen whistle back and we were on our way again.

Taking a break while waiting to see what direction the bushmen went.
The first kill which we missed as we were too far behind.  This is a small bird

then things got a little exciting as the hunters spotted a squirrel in the trees.

We watched as they planned their attack and tried to catch the squirrel

This particular squirrel was feisty and in addition to using their arrows they threw branches into the tree trying to flush the squirrel into sight

Here a bushmen is climbing a tree and cutting branches to make more arrows

Success at last!  I kinda felt sorry for the squirrel

Little man wanting to have a closer look.  I was surprised my kids weren't more upset over the dead animals but both were very matter of fact about the need to kill in order to eat
The bushmen starting a fire using wood from the Sandpaper tree.  The leaves of this tree really feel like fine sand paper

Blowing on the spark

Putting the catch of the day on the fire. While the bird was striped of its feather the fur of the squirrel was left on and then scrap off after cooking

Eating breakfast.  We were not asked to join in, thankfully

Returning to camp we saw two Dik Diks (which are very small antelopes) hanging from the tree

Observing the women making beaded necklaces

Next we were given the opportunity to try out their arrows.

I hit the target and surprised the bushmen who loudly clapped.  I have shot a bow before:)  I don't think they expected a women to know how to shot a bow let alone hit the target!

Our driver having a turn at the bow.

One of the children of the camp with a Baobab fruit beside them.

Animal skins nailed to the tree

Baobab shells decorated with beads

One of the shelters made by the bushmen

Another room made in the bush, we were told the Hadzabe move location whenever game is scarce to find

pots for cooking and a shelf made of Oldupai (also known as Sisal) branches

another make shift shelf

Storage of newly made arrows.  We were told the bushmen also use poisen arrows to bring down some of the bigger game they hunt.
I have to say this was an absolutely amazing experience!  Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we would participated in something like this.  

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Visiting a Datoga Family in Tanzania

When we planned our trip to Tanzania we told the travel agent that not only did we want to see the animals we wanted to experience the people and the culture of the country.  So we were taken to visit a Datoga Family near Lake Eyasi.  The Datoga are a pastoral people who have herded cattle for hundreds or thousands of years on the Serengeti Plain and in the Ngorongoro Region.  After the Maasai moved into the area approximately 500 years ago, they pushed the Datoga out of the area and onto the shores of Lake Eyasi.

We were invited into their home and told a little about their lifestyle.
This gentleman had 4 wives which is very common in this area.  Both my mother and I noticed that the man's wives were getting younger each time he remarried!  My husband thought that wasn't such a bad deal........

He also had 24 children.  The youngest children remained at home while the older children were sent out to watch/guard the cattle.  The children would take the cattle as far as 60KM from home in search of food and water.

One of his wives using a stone to make flour from corn.  We have seen this before in our re enactments groups and in museums but here they continue to use this method to grind corn.

The head of the household sitting on a plastic bottle that holds fresh water

Some of the younger children ran and operated a forge.  Here they took scrap metal and turned it into jewelry to sell to the tourist.  They also made arrow heads and sold it to the  bushmen in the area (more on that later)

We watched the children melt an old bronze facet and turn it into a bracelet

Princess communicating with one of the children.  Kids can communicate even if they don't speak the language.  Another good picture to debunked the socialization myth of home schooling.  Princess introduced herself and was trying to learn some Swahili words

one of the wives in traditional clothing

The husband!  Behind him is the fence that surrounds his home.  It consists of Brambles and thorny bushes.  We were told this aided in stopping wild animals coming into their compound.

The home was made from cow mud and consisted of 3 tiny rooms.  There was only one wooden bench as furniture and a couple of shelves for simple cooking items to store.  The floor was a dirt floor and we were told that the children slept on the floor using animal skins as covers.  If the weather was particularly hot they family would sleep on the roof of the home.  One of the side rooms was for the husband and wives to sleep in which also was the family storage room for food.  The final room was for either the children to use or for when a traveler or guest arrived at the home.  
the wooden bench that lines one side of the home inside

Food storage in the home

the guest house that is still being built...need to add cow mud

side of the home and a cat that Little Man found

another room of the house
I have to say I was astonished to see the living situation of this family!  I have taken for granted the many blessings my family has and all the modern conveniences we have in our home.