Our early morning start is almost forgotten as I marvel at how a bumpy, thirty-minute drive from our comfortable hotel has brought me in contact with this enchanting, alien world.
We stand on top of a rocky outcrop, maybe fifty metres high, and look out across the flatlands that stretch as far as we can see, towards the shores of Lake Eyasi. To our right, in the middle-distance, a small group of guinea-fowl scamper away into the bushes. My companions look longingly, fingering their wooden bows and arrows. But the quaint birds, which would make a tasty meal, are safely out of range.
The five boys in front of me turn around and I appraise them once again. Their skin is smooth and dark, their upper bodies partially covered by the skins of baboons – previous kills. Slim and athletic, no excess weight on them, they look to my ignorant eye to be between ten and twenty years old. But this is only a guess: here, out in the wilderness, two worlds have collided and my assumptions are based on my first-world, urban experience.
Tanzania – it’s not just the wildlife that’s fascinating
But for now, the first world and the third are going hunting – together!
The hunt begins
Two more failed attempts follow, before a shout announces that an arrow has at last hit home. Arriving at the scene, I can see that the winged victim is small, the size of a mere sparrow. Hitting something of that size is testament to the Hadzabe’s accuracy…but it will not provide lunch, that much is certain!
Time for lunch: fast food in fifteen minutes
Culture and beliefs
A simple, collective lifestyle
Before we leave, the tribeswomen perform a joyous song and dance as I ponder how long these captivating people can survive with a lifestyle that is so at odds with the rest of the world.
It’s a question I cannot answer. I can only hope.