The Hadzabe Tribe, Part 2 – The hunter takes the feathers off like you would take fresh thyme off the stem

Posted on: June 5th, 2011 by Amy No Comments

It’s 4:30 in the morning and the Africans are telling us to get dressed and eat breakfast before we go hunting with the bushmen. It is so dark that you can’t see anything and all you can hear is the hyenas. We grab all of our equipment and join the bushmen who are waiting in a circle around the fire, doing a little “wakey bakey.” Then “Hadzabe Obama” calls everyone to order and off we go, down into a riverbed, with twelve dogs and eight bushmen. When the bushmen hunt it is like a ballet. They have five different types of arrows. The front hunters only carry wooden arrows; the middle hunters carry wooden and metal, and the back hunters carry wooden, metal and poison. It seems that in the past they have had some difficulty with measuring poison, so in order to avoid poisoning themselves, only the most skilled are allowed to use it on big game.

We are now running up the hillside — I really should have quit smoking. The hunters are whistling back and forth, dogs running out and circling back. There is a four year old boy, Johan. He has no shoes but he has a small bow and arrow. As we are running he keeps turning around and waving to us to hurry up. Johan is very serious. As we go deeper into the bush he steps on a thorn. Instead of crying he just stops and lifts his foot, gesturing for me to get the thorn out. I take it out and off he runs again until he gets another thorn. This time Vance is behind him and filming, so he doesn’t see the thorn. Johan slaps Vance’s leg to get his attention. Vance takes the thorn out and Johan starts running again.

One of the front hunters signals that he has killed a bird. He retrieves it, and begins a fire so that we can eat it right there. The hunter takes the feathers off like you would take fresh thyme off the stem. Done in seconds. As the bird cooks, Johan is showing us his bow and arrow skills. He comes over to me and invites me to try. I take the bow and arrow, try to shoot, and the arrow just falls off. He takes it back and shoots it to the spot he wanted. He gives me back the bow and arrow and tells me to try it again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. After about the forth time, he gets frustrated with me and tells Momoya (who speaks Click Click), that I am going to go hungry since I can’t use a bow and arrow!

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