Hunting with BUSHMEN
Trip Start Aug 23, 2005
21Trip End Sep 09, 2005
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VERY early - 5am wake up to reach the bushmen just after sunrise around 6:15am. We walked FOREVER. It was mostly in soft sand of dry river (the river runs far below the surface in dry season). Otherwise it was in thorny bush that scratched up the bushmen's leathery skin & tried to tear all my clothes, hair & hat - If you look up the thorns are at your feet, if you look down you have your head attacked by thorns. No major injuries. No one knows for sure, but at a very quick pace to keep up with hunters I think we walked approximately 6 miles. We went on hunt shortly after arriving & seeing where they live with women - & where they smoke awful pipes with a tobacco which makes them all cough a lot. The hunt was a lot of tracking Dik-dik tracks (tiny reindeer - the smallest of the antelope). We never saw one, but those who could not keep up (an Israeli couple) saw a Dik-dik long after the hunters & I had passed. Bummer. However, we almost caught a rodent about like a ground hog. It eluded the young hunters. We were back in the soft sand of the river wash when many shouts & lots of running. I was up front but once they ran they were too far ahead. Thankfully. I am glad I did not see the kill of the Varvet monkey, but I heard it all. The boy who was the only bushman to speak any Swahili made the kill - right through the heart. There is a short walk to a shade tree & a fire is made immediately & the cutting & cooking begins. The hero of the day keeps the head which is roasted & takes it back to clan. We had met up with one man from another clan & he also shared in the spoils. A piece is saved for each of the women & children to take back. Bloody. Very yucky stuff. They swore it tastes like chicken. Smelled like it. But I didn't try. The tail will decorate a bow. To celebrate, they all lit up a joint - much marijuana smoking amongst the Bushmen & Totoga.
As we walked back (much slower thanx to the marijuana) a boy wanted to trade his arrow for my watch. I felt it too important to me & not important to him. He then asked for a trade of my whistle which I keep around my neck for safety if I get lost or attacked. Now that we were finished with this type of thing I made the trade. Not sure how to get it back - very sharp for airport security scanners & the stick is too long for my luggage.
I think I've figured out the words to O SIFUNI MUNGO (First Call) - I am trying to upload the MP3 if ever able. Huruma LOVES the song & we sing it all the time! Basically means Praise the Lord.
We returned to camp for brunch, broke down camp & drove very VERY dusty Eyasi area to reach Karatu where I am doing SLOW internet. Only 4pm - off to the crater