Today was the kind of experience that I was hoping for the boys to have. We met our English-speaking guide, Hassam, and drove about 45 minutes further into the bush to encounter the Hadzabe Tribe. The camp was not a tourist attraction; these people and their nomadic way of life were very real.
For the next two hours, we hiked and hunted with four bushman. They taught the boys to use bows and arrows. (This was no Cub Scout camp!) While they’d wanted to kill a baboon this day, the bushman were satisfied with some small birds. The men were quick, light-footed, and extremely skilled. (I learned later that they smoke a plant prior to the hunt that makes them high! Apparently it heightens their senses for tracking.)
From Nathan: Just imagine, these men have to do this everyday. I wonder why they don’t use a rifle. It would increase their accuracy and let them take down big game.
From Aidan: We walked for about an hour before I got my first shot. I shot at a bird that was sitting in a tree from about 25 feet away. I missed the bird by a foot. Then the guide pointed out another bird in the tree. I shot at it. The first shot was too low. The second shot was too high.
As you’ll be able to see from the photos, Aidan truly embraced this experience. He could even speak “click” like the tribesmen. The guide called him “white bushman” all day long. Aidan had a sample of the bird that the bushman cooked over a fire on the spot. I did too; it was a little rare for my liking. Nathan refused politely and opted for the honeycomb that the men pulled out of a tree.
The most memorable moment for me was observing a 14-year old girl who had just given birth yesterday. She was lying on the ground of her hut, still bleeding with the baby at her side. (The Hadzabe marry young. Their life expectancy is around 50 to 55 years old.)
After some afternoon rest time, we visited another tribe named the Datoga. They’re known as blacksmiths and make items out of melted metal. We also visited an onion farm – this area is known for red onions – and a large market.
Tomorrow, another big drive…
(Note: if you click on the photos and look at them in the gallery setting, you’ll be able to read the captions for more information.)
Arrowheads used by the Hadzabe: wood, metal, and poisoned metal.
Zebra hide from kill
Aidan admiring the Hadzabe’s latest kill: zebra
Men of the Hadzabe tribe before hunt
The chief serves as a medicine man, as well.
Baboon skulls. If you want to marry in the Hadzabe tribe, the man gives the bride’s father a baboon kill.
These girls have cuts under their eyes. When children are young and cry, the chief cuts their faces. When the tears hit, it hurts. They apparently learn not to cry.
Hadzabe girls share a breakfast broth.
Huts used by the Hadzabe. The tribe goes where the animals go.
Hadzabe village in the bush
Look closely. I didn’t want to use a flash. This a 14-girl girl who gave birth to the baby next to her… yesterday.
Shooting lesson with the bushmen.
Nathan takes a practice shot.
Aidan gets some instruction.
Aidan practices before the hunt.
The Hadzabe bushmen were a little taken back when Shellie picked up a bow.
Shellie can shoot… she’s been to Cub Scout camp!
This is the fruit from the Baobab tree. If you suck on the seeds, it tastes a bit citrusy.
Aidan watches and learns.
Aidan just took off with the bushman.
Aidan gets a hunting lesson.
Bushman takes aim.
Hadzabe bushman showing off his kill, Sandgrouse.
Bushman hangs dead birds on his belt.
Bushman coaches Aidan on stalking prey.
Aidan takes a shot at a bird in the tree.
Honeycomb plucked from the tree. The Hadzabe are immune to bee stings.
Nathan senses the honeycomb is safe. He eats it.
The honey tastes sweet.
Bushman readies his shot.
The bushmen put their fresh kills on the fire. They can make fire in seconds.
Sandgrouse on the barbie
Shellie observes and wishes that she had a meat thermometer!
Shellie on the hunt
Even when the bird is on the ground with broken wings, it’s hard to hit! The bushman eventually put it out of its misery and take it back to the village for lunch.
Sandals made from hides
One of the village girls making jewelry
Shellie’s bracelet made from elephant grass
Aidan bought this necklace from the Hadzabe. The antlers are from a Dik-Dik. He’s worn it all around Africa.
Nathan, Shellie, and Aidan with our Datoga hosts
Lots of beading on the Datoga dress
You can tell that this Datoga woman is married because she has an underskirt that she never takes off.
A married Datoga woman has a bronze bracelet plus gold bracelets given to her by her family on her wrist. You can’t believe how much this weighs!
Kid with mother goat
Datoga mud homes
Datoga woman shows us how she makes corn into polenta.
Dark Datoga kitchen
Datoga men melt metal over fire for bracelets.
Datoga man stamps metal bracelet.
Tanzanian red onions
Many of the villagers in Lake Eyasi grow red onions.
Aidan uses field blade to remove onion stalk from bulb. Careful!
We pull some onions.
Monthly market in Lake Eyasi
The reason for us going vegetarian in Africa. Yep, that’s a freshly slaughtered goat.
This market is filled with second-hand clothes, likely donations from the U.S. that never made it to their intended targets.
Traditional tribal coverings; the red ones are Maasi.
Need a dress? It can be sewn for you on the spot.