Safari Journal Part 9

Part 9

“Jambo, Jambo” again this morning. Nice hot water outside my tent. I take it into the tent to really clean up because I smell rancid. I hear a slight crackle as I try and remove my sports bra. My sweat must have formed a protective coating on me or something. I haven’t been bitten by any large insect yet, that must be why. They must prefer body oil as opposed to scum. Today we are going to meet two different tribes, the Datouga’s and the Hadzube’s. At breakfast everyone is talking about finding his or her way to the toilet hole in the dark. So, I decide to fess up. I figure if I act like a child about his natural grandfather instincts will come out. I tell him about it just like it happened and about how I will give him money for it and everything else. My intuition was right. He says, “We can’t have you going around without a flashlight in the dark, now can we?” I love this man. Maybe it’s a feeling that I am being nurtured, who knows.He promptly goes to the shitter and picks out the flashlight, brings it out where we are eating breakfast and proceeds to clean it with disinfectant. Suddenly I am no longer hungry. Actually I am no longer interested in having him as my best friend either! He cleans it up and hands it back to me. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. No, I would never look a gift horse in the mouth (whatever that really means). Shouldn’t the Romans have looked the gift horse in the mouth? If they would have, they might still be an empire. I take my second hand gift and say thank you.

We drive to a barren part of the country and get out of the truck overlooking a small cliff. We are meeting the Hadzubes first. We have to walk down the cliff to get to their area. I call it an area because they don’t have homes or fences or anything resembling anything I am accustomed to. They live in huts made out of straw. Not like the huts from Gilligan’s Isle either, they are basically non-sheltering shelters. They sleep on the ground. They have a common place where they make fire and eat. Three of the men are preparing for the morning hunt. One group of hunters has already left for the morning. The hunters wear the fur of their first kill every time they hunt. It is believed to bring luck. Kind of like Michael Jordan wearing his Carolina shorts over and over, I guess. They invite us to go out with them. They carry a spear and a bow and arrow that they have made from trees and ciscel grass. Two of the men are barefoot; one is wearing a pair of shoes that he made from an old tire. Tread on the bottom. We follow them around for about an hour, watching them throw the spear at every moving bush. They are looking for Dik-Diks (a small deer type animal) and monkeys. A realization hits me; I drive up to a window and order food. It comes in a nice little container with napkins. We are definitely worlds apart. One of the hunters’ stops in front of a tangled mess of brush. He throws his spear in and makes a grunting noise. He pulls out the spear with a field mouse on the end of it. The mouse was smaller than my hand and the spear is right through the center of it. Amazing. He calls the other hunters over and one takes two sticks and makes a small fire. They proceed to throw the mouse into the fire. As the hair burns off and it cooks a little they talk. One pulls the mouse out of the fire to pull off its tail and to remove the skull. It cooks a little bit more and they pull it out and split it into three’s. They consume it very quickly being that it is so small. If the kill were larger they would take it back to their area. Taking back nothing is more noble then a kill of this size. The women and children are waiting to eat though. This is all they have to nourish themselves. It’s to dry to garden and there has been a draught so no berries grow on the bushes. I am a very lucky individual. I don’t think I will complain ever again.

After getting back to the truck we head to meet the Datouga’s. Our guide tells us that the house we are visiting is the home of one man and his eight wives and children. When we arrive the women are all dressed in their sheepskin dresses. The house is made from wood and mud. This is actually a structure. They smile a lot. We follow them into the house and we sit in their living area. They have gourds hanging from the walls. They use these to collect water. They cook a paste made from corn right in their bedroom. They offer me some. I say “Can I get fries with that”? Nobody gets it. My own little world is starting to isolate me. The youngest wife really takes to me. She has scars on her face around her eye area. They do this at a very young age to attract husbands. It’s kind of like wearing make-up. I feel her tattooed face, then I show her my tattoo on my shoulder. Everyone runs to get a look. They laugh and smile, they had never seen this before. They are also playing with my hair. They are smoothing it. They obviously have never felt a white persons hair before. I know that my locks are shiny and flowing but Jesus. The young girl takes an anklet off her leg and motions that she would like to put it on my leg. This is to cool.

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