An amazing adventure
by Eduard Schaepman, on 13 Feb 2020
I'm full of stories again! What a journey to Tanzania Juul Klumpes, Muhammed Aydogan and I have had! We learned a lot and laughed a lot, and if you asked us, the trip could have lasted a few more days (although my back didn’t quite agree after lying flat on the ground for a few nights).
Of all the trips to the nomadic tribes I think this is the most special one: these nomads are still living like the hunters and gatherers they are from origins. They roam around in their habitat, looking for nutritious potatoes, small animals to hunt, and the precious honey for trade (taken directly from the hive), and we were allowed to join them for a few days. After one last night in a hotel with running water, our adventure began!
It was quite a change: from the busy inhabited world, to an environment where there is no running water, no houses made of stone, and where you have (almost) no internet connection. The men and women welcomed us with open arms, and we were immediately allowed to go on a hunt with them. With homemade spears and arrowheads smeared with a deadly poison, we went into the woods. Luckily, I was too noisy, and the monkeys already had fled, but one of our fellow hunters managed to quickly shoot a small bird out of the sky. We had mixed feelings about this experience: 'you can't just go shooting animals like that...', was something we thought at first. But, the poison on the arrowheads causes a very quick death (the poison is also dangerous for humans, so we had to be careful), and it is part of life there.
They, in turn, are amazed about how we do it: we keep cattle inside, in a not so very natural environment, where they are allowed to go outside from time to time, only to put them in far too small trucks on their way to slaughter. At least the little bird was able to fly around freely until it was in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, you may wonder if it's really that barbaric to shoot a bird from the sky to feed yourself, but well, that's a completely different discussion... it's the way of life there, and who are we to judge it. Luckily for us, people still live like that - it gives us a little idea of how our distant ancestors lived. Of course, we also went in search of honey, but unfortunately others were ahead of us: the beehive was empty.
After this tribe we moved even further into the bush, and after a long trip (we got lost) we arrived at the Masai. And not the Masai of which we know they're already quite modern (and visited by a lot of tourists), but the Masai who still live according to their traditional way of life. Muhammed has a large network and he found someone who is in touch with these people, so we were allowed to visit them anyway. We got a very warm welcome from the whole tribe, who were jumping and dancing when we arrived at sunset, and immediately got a whole tour through their community. Their habitat is completely surrounded by fences, and at night the place is hermetically locked, so that the wild animals can't enter. At that time I still thought, ‘I’m sure that they’re exaggerating a bit’, but as soon as the hyenas started crying and the whole pack of dogs started to bark, I wasn’t able to sleep anymore, I can tell you (although the fact that we were lying directly on the ground might have played a part as well).
The last day of our journey we went back to civilization, enriched with a lot of impressions and insights. We were surprised by a connection from Muhammed Aydogan with a boat trip to Snake Island, where we enjoyed the beautiful nature of Tanzania and a fantastic dinner before we went back to the airport. When Juul, Muhammed and I went home, we all thought the same thing: what an amazing adventure.