Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
Cheeks told Li Du a lot of traditions related to the Hadza. He said that there were no written notes of their tribe’s history; it all depended on word of mouth.
But they were not lonely at all in the vast grassland. There were the Iraqw, Datooga, Isanzu, Sukuma, Nyiramba, Maasai and other tribes. They had long communicated with many other tribes and lived together.
Each ethnic group had their own language. They all had a common second language, and that was Swahili, and it made communication possible.
Each tribe also had their own territories. The Hadza people exchanged prey for metal arrowheads forged by the Datooga people, who exchanged animal skins with the Isanzu people for tents, who exchanged further goods, including women, with the Sukuma tribe.
Polygamy was highly common in many places of Africa. The Hadza people more closely resembled modern society in this regard because most of the people in their tribe were monogamous.
Li Du said, “This is really great. Obviously, you guys respect women more.”
Cheeks laughed and then said, “No. It’s because our people are not good at saving and gathering money, hence we don’t have extra money saved to exchange for wives.”
Cheeks, who had received a higher education, was very honest. He told Li Du that the Hadza people did not have high levels of loyalty in their marriages. Even though they did not have several wives at the same time, they often exchanged partners with others.
But the Hadza women were also very valiant. They appeare to accept polygamy, but if their husbands dared to fool around, they would be furious and fight them. They might even take their children to join other families. They would use many different ways to get back at their husbands.
When Sophie arrived, the Hadza people grew even more excited. A young man gave Sophie a straw wreath. There were some vibrantly colored bird feathers in itit was very beautiful.
Sophie accepted it with a smile. Cheeks told Li Du, “This kid is very fond of your wife.”
“Then it means he is a great judge of beauty.”
Cheeks was stunned, and then he laughed out loud.
He liked Li Du’s generosity and kindness. This was why after breakfast he insistintly invited Li Du to join the tribe’s hunters in hunting.
Li Du considered it for a long moment, and he went to talk with Mr. Lion Hunter. He told him that he was ready to experience the Hadza people’s hunting life, and asked if Mr. Lion Hunter was interested as well.
Mr. Lion Hunter said, “They will only hunt mice, birds, and such. What’s the point in that? Today I am going to hunt a lion. Are you sure you don’t want to go with me?”
Li Du was not interested in hunting fierce animals at all. Both Ah Ow and Ah Meow were already fierce animals. Hunting other fierce animals would make them feel insecure.
So, they temporarily parted ways. Sophie and he had joined in the Hadza people’s hunting party.
The Hadza people usually did not accept outside women into their tribe, but because Sophie had given the kids many chocolates, milk candies, and other tidbits, and also because she was poised and elegant, the tribe welcomed her.
Due to the differences in judgment for beauty in different tribes, Sophie, who had a pretty face, was actually not a beauty in the eyes of the Hadza people. In their eyes, a tall and thicker woman was more attractive. A stronger body indicated better chances of bearing children, and it also meant that the woman was healthier.
Perhaps the Hadza people did not think Sophie was beautiful, but temperament was universal. Beauty in temperament could directly touch someone’s soul. So, the people still liked her a lot.
Big Ivan had brought booze for the Hadza people; he thought that these native black men would like strong alcoholic drinks. But in the end, he was rejected.
The Hadza people were not good at drinking. They would get drunk even on their fermented fruit wine. And these people were afraid of losing self-control and staring trouble.
Because of this, most Hadza camps had a rule that they would not accept booze from any outsiders. But they were very interested in the iron alcohol jug that Big Ivan had brought along. They poured the alcohol out and used it for plain water instead.
Big Ivan was disappointed. “For God’s sake, please don’t pour that away! That was vodka I brought all the way from the Ukraineit wasn’t easy to get!”
After the sun rose, the hunters were ready to depart.
They had trained some dogs, but they were not bringing them to hunt. They were using them to guard the campsite instead.
Over twenty hunters formed the team. They moved nimbly across the grass as they gathered in twos or threes and chatted with each other. They had smiles across their faces; this was a carefree and happy part of their life.
After walking for some time, the hunter at the front stopped in his tracks. He shouted excitedly, “Swizizha!”
The hunters ran over hastily, and they bent their backs to start digging around the wild grass with their spears. It seemed like they were looking for something carefully on the ground.
Cheeks turned his head around and explained, “They have found some prairie dogs.”
Li Du asked, “Is this also considered food?”
Cheeks smiled widely. “Well of course, this is very good food. The prairie dogs eat grass seeds and fruits to survive, and they are not dirty. And they aren’t dangerous, so how could we not like them as food?”
They had found a few burrows within the wild grass. Then they found some hay and flipped their leather skirts open and peed on it.
Sophie turned around shyly, and Cheeks apologized to her, saying that the Hadza hunters lacked some common sense on these occasions.
The hay became wet. They stuffed it into the holes and used the lighter they had brought along with them to light it up.
Soon, smoke began curling from the holes.
The hunters feverishly blew into the holes to create more smoke. Some prairie dogs started to emerge. The hunters waited around the holes for them, and caught each of them as they came out.
Li Du saw them using a lighter, and he asked, “You actually guys don’t mind accepting an outsider’s culture. You don’t mind changing some traditions, do you?”
Cheeks nodded. “Yes, small changes are not a problem.”
Li Du thought this seemed a bit hypocritical. On one hand they wanted to maintain the tribe’s traditions, while on the other they could accept changes.
Cheeks could see that he was confused, so he explained.
In fact, there were numerous opportunities for the Hadza people to bid farewell to these hunting and foraging lifestyles.
In Tanzania, the government had attempted many times in helping or forcing the Hadza people to move away from Hadzaland, to settle them down. But these attempts had all failed in the end.
For example in 1965, the Tanzania government, which had just gotten its independence, used real police force to move the Hadza people to their settlement. They even prepared schools and hospitals for them.
But the tragedy was that after just a few weeks’ time, many Hadza people began falling sick. They had gotten an infectious disease and many died from it. The following year, most of the Hadza people had already left the settlement and returned to their hunting and foraging lifestyle.
From the seventies to the nineties, the local government had worked relentlessly hard to create settlements for the Hadza people. And yet all the hard work had turned to ashes in the end.
And today, the villages that were built for them still had an extremely small number of Hadza people there, awaiting for the government to provide them with food. But most of them still returned to their traditional lifestyle of hunting and foraging.
As they were chatting away, the prairie dogs in the area were eventually cleared out.
The hunters tied the prairie dogs together with ropes, and hung them on their waists or swung over their shoulders. The smiles on their faces were even wider now; they seemed really happy.
Watching this scene, Cheeks smiled and said, “Our people have a natural liking toward hunting. As long as there are rewards, we are happy.
“In the twenty-first century, the two things that people want the most are health and happiness. Look, my people are healthy and happy from hunting. Why would we change this lifestyle?”