Yayeda Chini Hadza Tribe: Hunter Gatherer Money Greed

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    Cultivating the land.
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    What a bus-line name..
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    I love this image so much.
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    Cactus tree.
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    Ugoro (sniffing tobacco). It made me dizzy like I was drunk.
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    Sonyo (smoking tobacco) - It burned my eyes to smoke and made tears roll down my cheeks.
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    Paper for rolling cigarettes.
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    My crew of curious followers.
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    40 'freezie' sized bags of dry gin alcohol for girts.
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    The man who owned the shack that sold tobacco in the village.
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    People in the small village of Bashay loved having their photos taken really got a kick out of seeing themselves in the images after. I love the big smiles and I am a particularly big fan of the maize saleslady.
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    My maize lady.
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    Gasoline from water bottles.
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    My pilot into the wild, Mathayo.
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    Josphat and Paulo.
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    Herdsmen, often pre-teen children.
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    Life is a lot of years ago here.
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    Lonely rouge tree.
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    Mt. Hanang looming in the distance, looking like it is burning diesel.
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    Unsurprising African countryside motorcycle handyman continuation maintenance.
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    Tree branch Tanzanian tooth brush conversion should you need to freshen up in a jiffy... Paulo calls it a 'wild teeth-brush.'
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    A rough, long, road.
  • 1180211
    I found these three children in this tree on the side of the road. There was nothing else, no house, no buildings, nothing, anywhere else, but there were these three children in a tree.
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    The mountain home of a herdsman out working for the day.
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    Mathayo in front for size reference.
  • 1180225
    The map to find the Hadza people.
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    We came across this bushman who had been after a gazelle.
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    This man had an expression that never changed. The arrows had hand-made light metal tips on them smeared with poison made from snake venom and candelabra (a type if cactus).
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    Small housing at the edge of the Hadza village.
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    The old man of the village.
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    I love that gorgeous tree.
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    Not a traditional hunter.
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    Small Hadza huts.
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    The little boy on the left hand side with a bow and arrow.
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    The path through those trees.
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    A Big Beaver cowboy... not a real speak hunter.
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    A perfect traditional yard.
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    Father driving and son holding onto a goat (with a pretty big sack!).
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    Horizon of the Rifty Valley.
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    Hauling a chicken home.
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    You can really make people happy when you are giving away alcohol and tobacco.
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    Smoking with Duro.
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    Small shacks in Mbulu where fruit and veg are sold.
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    An arrowhead that detaches from the arrow. Look at the barbs on that!
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    The bus from Mbulu to Qatesh.
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    Topping up the rad half way through the drive.
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    My version of hell, a hill of onions.
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    Young hunter with a spear.
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    It was funny to see her trying to get close enough to touch my skin.

Jan 7
It could have been one of the greatest days of my life in a quest to find the Hadza Tribe.  Unfortunately it was spoiled long before I arrived by money and greed….

I found out that the buses in this country are privately owned and some man just buys a bus or a van and puts it on the road.  And that is how the system works here.  The public transport system in Tanzania is actually really great.
 I met Paulo this morning at 07:30 for breakfast and we caught a bus for $1 to a village called Bashay.  We were on a big bus where Paulo sat in a row of three seats with an empty between us.  Even though there were plenty of other empty seats (entire rows even) a woman of about 20 chose to sit between us.  It made me think about how frustrating that must be when you are a pretty woman, and how she must never get to sit alone.  I am guilty of this myself; when I am getting on a bus and there are just single seats left, I always choose the seat with the prettiest girl.  Always.  I know this girl chose the seat in between Paulo and I today because she wanted to sit beside the foreign man.  It is essentially the same equal in my situation here…
The motorcycle guys, Mathayo and Josphat, told us that we should bring tobacco and drinks.
It took 90 minutes to get to Bashay and that was where the fun began.  When I got off the bus in that village, people stopped and stared.  Paulo found a couple of motorcycle-taxi guys for us.  I sure was glad to have him with me to speak Swahili and arrange things.  He told the motorcycle guys that we wanted to go and see the Hadza people who are a hunter/gatherer tribe.  It was going to cost me $10 for each motorcycle to go there and come back.  Paulo asked the motorcycle guys what we should bring with us for the Hadza.  (I had Czech-sniffing snuff in my backpack to share with the tribe and I also had a pipe and pipe-tobacco in my backpack to bring fun to the tribe).  The motorcycle guys, Mathayo and Josphat, told us that we should bring tobacco and drinks.  In order to get this we had to go and find the man in town who owned a tiny little wooden hut that sold supplies.  A group of about 10 men were following us around, curious about this foreigner.

People in the small village of Bashay loved having their photos taken really got a kick out of seeing themselves in the images after. I love the big smiles and I am a particularly big fan of the maize saleslady.

People in the small village of Bashay loved having their photos taken really got a kick out of seeing themselves in the images after. I love the big smiles and I am a particularly big fan of the maize saleslady.

I started taking photos of people and they were really excited.  They all wanted to be in pictures and then they wanted to see themselves in the photos.  Faces were smiling everywhere.  A girl of about 12 years approached me from the side and she was slowly moving her hand towards my arm as I could see that she wanted to touch my skin.  When she was just millimeters from my arm, and jumped and yelled, “Boo!”  She screamed and hid giggling behind her father.  The group of men in tow were roaring with laughter.  I got a photo with her touching my arm and then she would not keep her hands out of my hair.  Meanwhile, the man behind the counter of his store filled a small black bag full of cigarette tobacco called ‘Sonyo’ in Swahili.  Then he put some powdered sniffing tobacco called ‘Ugoro’ in another bag.  I tried a little of the Urogo and it was so strong that it made really dizzy, like I was very drunk.  I have never tried sniffing snuff that was so potent before.  The villagers liked that I tried it and were smiling.  The man behind the counter put a stack of sheets of paper with the tobacco that I was informed was for rolling.  It cost me $3 for everything.  We then walked down the street to another shack-shop where I bought two boxes of London Dry Gin that came with twenty 50 ml packets in each of them for $5.50 total.  We had all our supplies and walked to the motorcycles where our drivers bought water-bottles of gasoline that they dumped into their tanks.  We loaded up and headed out of the village to find the Hadza.  Even if nothing else happened, the day would have been great just at visiting Bashay. 

Ugoro (sniffing tobacco). It made me dizzy like I was drunk.

Ugoro (sniffing tobacco). It made me dizzy like I was drunk.

Our drivers took us down really rough roads where we passed many people walking on the sides, met people with oxen-drawn carts, and we weaved through others moving herds of goats and cattle.  It seems like you could never feel lonely in Africa because even when you are in the middle of nowhere, because there are still people in the bushes on the side of the road.  We passed a tree that had nothing around it anywhere, yet there were three children in the tree.

The mountain home of a herdsman out working for the day.

The mountain home of a herdsman out working for the day.

I was afraid that my motorcycle-taxi was not going to make the drive to find the Hadza.  We had to travel slow because the back sprocket was so wore out that the chain kept on skipping notches.  We also had no brakes, so my driver, Mathayo, had to gear down on hills.  Then we had to stop on the side of the road so that Josphat, the driver hauling Paulo, could do some maintenance and tighten up the chain on his bike.

Young hunter with a spear.

Young hunter with a spear.

It took about an hour of travel down through the Rifty Valley, and then we passed bushmen walking down the road with spears in their hands.  Then we came across a bushman crossing the road who had a bow and arrows in his hands as he and another hunter were after a gazelle.  I got off the motorcycle to meet him.  His facial expression was entirely unresponsive as I shook his hand.  His hunter companion would not come out of the bush, but this man I had met allowed me to hold his bow and arrows.  There were metal tips on the end of the arrows and Paulo explained to me to make sure I did not scratch myself with them as there was poison on them made from some candelabra (a type if cactus) mixed with snake venom.  I gave the man a handful of tobacco for allowing me to take photos of him.  Paulo said that I was very lucky to have come across him.

This man had an expression that never changed. The arrows had hand-made light metal tips on them smeared with poison made from snake venom and candelabra (a type if cactus).

This man had an expression that never changed. The arrows had hand-made light metal tips on them smeared with poison made from snake venom and candelabra (a type if cactus).

We arrived at Mwongo Wamono Village a few minutes later.  A group of people were sitting around and we ended up going into an office to sit down.  There was a calculator on the desk where a older woman who seemed to be in charge sat in a chair.  I knew that calculator was for sure there to be used for calculating money and I immediately knew there was going to be a fee for me to enter the land of the Hadza.  Paulo confirmed this when he embarrassingly told me that they were requesting $50 for me to enter and I would have to pay anyone their requested/negotiated price for photos.  Paulo knew it was a skin-tax though the man in the office said it was ‘Hadza law.’  Paulo told them about the gifts I had.  They said gifts are just gifts and they wanted money.  He bargained with them, told them I was a university student and I would be able to get other students from my school there so they would benefit in the future.  It took about 45 minutes, but eventually the fee became $30.  I paid it, as we had come to far to turn back with nothing.  An official hand-wrote out a permit for me to be on the land with permission.  We headed into the village with about 15 local Hadza people dressed as normal as anyone else from Tanzania.

The little boy on the left hand side with a bow and arrow.

The little boy on the left hand side with a bow and arrow.

There were four small huts, and a shack on the side.  The locals moved a small door from the front of one of the huts and went to sit inside to pose.  One of them inside said that the photo would cost me 5,000 shillings ($2.50).  It was all a joke and completely set up.  There was nothing official about any of it except for the huts.  I realized at that moment that the Hadza had been visited by many tourists.  Everything was money money money.  I had just paid $30 to be there and now they wanted money for me just to take photos.  One of the people asking for money for photos was an elder who had been part of the negotiations in the office for me to enter the land in the first place.  So, the Hadza were charging me money to be able to come onto the land where they could charge me money.  I could feel that was what this was mounting to long before the moment came.  I was pissed off and knew this was nothing but a money grab.  I took the bag London Dry Gin and tobacco from my driver who had been carrying it as I did not want it to be in anyone else’s hands.  It was clear to all that I was pissed off.  I said I was not paying any more money for this.  The locals retreated, realizing there was backlash, and translated though Paulo, “Okay, we do not want money.  We want the gifts you have brought.”  But it was too late for that.  The Hadza of Mwongo Wamono Village were vultures looking for any way they could to pick away at a foreigner.  Their greed and this façade was too much for me.  There was another tribe on the land called the ‘Barbaig’ that I would have liked to have seen, but the Hadza wanted the cigarette tobacco and alcohol to cross their land get to them.  It was enough for me.  I said, “Let’s leave!,” to Paulo and my drivers.  I was not giving these cockroaches anything.  Their greed was far too disgusting for me.

I walked off of their land, having seen nothing for what I had paid for.  A group of greedy plain-clothed un-authentic money-hungry Hadza thieves followed.  They wanted the tobacco and alcohol, but I was not giving them anything.  I wanted them to watch me leave with it.  It likely made no difference, but if it made just one of them think for just a moment of how shitty money has made them…  They were upset that I was leaving with the gifts.  We got on our bikes and rode off.

However, the best part of the day began as soon as we left because I would make my driver stop next to every single person on the side of the road and I would give them two packets of London Gin and a handful of tobacco. 

You can make a lot of people happy when you drive around on country back roads handing out cigarette tobacco and alcohol.
 About half of the people did not want alcohol or tobacco but were very thankful for the offer.  The other half were so happy to have received the gifts that they shook my hands with huge smiles.  Giving away free alcohol and tobacco might be a little bit sinister, but it was all meant as a friendly gesture.  Mathayo was telling me how happy he is to be around me and called my gifts ‘Beaver Medicine!’

You can really make people happy when you are giving away alcohol and tobacco.

You can really make people happy when you are giving away alcohol and tobacco.

In town, I tipped Mathayo an extra $5, paid Paulo’s driver, gave Paulo $25 for his time all day, and paid $2 for another motorcycle taxi to take us to the bus that cost me another $2 for us to get home.  I spent about $100 today, which was an African fortune (and a month of salary) to not get what I was after…

It was a long day and I was pretty tired when I got back to my guesthouse.  I rested and went to meet Paulo at the restaurant where he spends his days with his friends who are becoming my friends as well.  I still had half of the alcohol and tobacco left from the day, so I gave the London Dry Gin to the restaurant owner named Andre, and I gave the tobacco to a friend named Duro who smokes cigarettes.  I made Duro roll me a cigarette as a fee so that I could try the tobacco.  A group of five men sat around me and laughed and laughed as I tried to smoke the harsh local tobacco.  I was coughing and my eyes were watering so much that tears were running down my face.  Oh, they all liked that.  We had some of the Ugoro sniffing snuff together which was also a lot of fun.  I stood like Superman flying into the sky to show them how high I was, much to their amusement.  Tomorrow I will take my pipe tobacco and Czech sniffing snuff to them to share.

Today could have been an experience of a lifetime.  Instead it was spoiled by excessive greed….  So, I did my best to salvage as good of a day as I could..

 

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