Sunday, January 16, 2011
Indigenous Tribes at Lake Eyasi
So I guess I should start out by saying don’t listen to Lonely Planet. Momoya is not the “enterprising” man LP claims him to be. More like he sees that I’m mzungu and the things he said in the email “work with your budget, give you the resident rate” etc. go out the window. There is serious reverse discrimination. We were even going to give him a ride. Anyway…after much off-roading, we found Lake Eyasi, or the place they call lake Eyasi. The lake is actually completely dry until the rainy season and feels a bit like walking on the moon with the dry, crispy texture of the salt crunching beneath your feet. Anyway, a nice Jambo tourist guide hut awaits us and the guide tells us half the price Momoya did, hops in our car, and shows us a campsite for $5 and then gives us a complete tour of the area showing us a huge vegetable garden, telling us about the surrounding flora and fauna, and then taking us to the Datoga tribe free of charge. This was a very interesting tribe similar to the Maasai, but their hobby is taking scrap metal such as a padlock and melting it into jewelry. They trade this with other tribes for things like honey. Sadly I don’t support this business with money because the only things money can buy in these isolated tribes are things like glue for sniffing, marijuana, cigarettes, or alcohol-i.e. nothing good. I had my chance at grinding corn flour to make ugali, the local white flour here, which was quite difficult and saw their boma. After a gorgeous sunset, a starry night and the goodness of camping, we woke up at 6 AM to go hunting with one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes, the Hatzabe. Upon arrival, after some extreme off-roading in a Suzuki Escudo, they were roasting a monkey over a fire and skinning a dik-dik. Breakfast time. We went hunting with them with our game being a Francoline. It takes a lot of skill to hunt with a bow and arrow! Right there and then, they plucked off the feathers, rubbed two sticks together and voila there was fire. I tasted it and it wasn’t too bad. I’d describe it as chewy chicken. It was certainly an experience I will not forget!