Later, we found the carcass of a male impala which, judging by the antler gores on its side, had died in a rutting dispute with another male. Moments later, the Hadza had removed a leg, stripped the skin and had the meat sizzling over a fire ignited by glowing embers of charcoal conjured by friction from a hand drill and puffed into full-blown fire in a pile of dried grass.
Cutting to the chase, Sarah was soon asking the Hadza about their beliefs. How are women treated in Hadza society? The women laughed merrily at this, revealing that divorces are often set in motion by women who feel their men are not behaving well. And did they believe in God, Sarah wondered. Yes, they told us. The honeyguide, the honey, the bark medicine, the meat from the impala were all provided by God. “He is here now,” said one of the men, pointing up at the sun.
“So, if there is a God, what happens to you when you die?” asked Sarah. “We all must die,” they told us with a smile. “We do not worship our ancestors. When someone is near death, we build a shelter and leave them supplies of honey, herbs and food for a few days and then we leave them.”
We will not forget our time with the Hadza. The human world, just like the natural world, would undoubtedly be a poorer place without cultural diversity. But could we live like them? Of course not. We wouldn’t last for more than a few months at most, almost certainly succumbing to bites, sickness or accidentally bumping into a lion.
Can we learn from them? Now that’s a good question. Their knowledge of medicine and herbs and their ability to live sustainably is one of the best examples on the planet of lives lived in tune with nature. And their unique approach to day-to-day living, shared communal values, and apparent lack of foreboding for the future is a lesson we should all seek to emulate.
The Luxury Safari Company (01666 880 111; theluxurysafaricompany.com) is offering an all-inclusive 10-night combined stay at Tanzania’s Mwiba and Chem Chem Lodges from £14,721pp (January to March) and £15,721pp (June to October). Prices include the services of a private guide on bush drives and visits to tribal communities, as well as return economy flights from London Heathrow