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AN EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE AT A LIVING MUSEUM

Namibia

sunny
View SOUTHERN AFRICA 2018 on Tracy87's travel map.

NOVEMBER 10TH DAY 9

We depart straight after breakfast and the drive feels long as it is so hot.  We stop in Rundu for .supplies and to change money.  The Bureau de Change has run out of money, so it's off to a bank to see if we can change US$$ but they can't as their system is down, so I find a second bank and wait patiently in the queue, when I get to the counter the lovely young girl apologizes and tells me I didn't  have to wait and sends me to Mario, who thankfully can change our cash.  Gotta love this continent! 

We have run out of time to  get much shopping done before it's back on the truck!   

Today we stop a nd have lunch under a large tree on the roadside. 

It is late afternoon when we reach Grootfontein, we drive straight thru.  It seems smaller than I pictured it.  I thought it was going to be quite a large sprawling city like Bulawayo, but it is modern, clean and quite green in the dry surrounding landscape.

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Just passing thru, Grootfontein!

Our camp is on the outskirts of town 'Roys Camp' is pretty cool, and yes it has a pool!  

Tents set up we head for the pool, the bar is lovely, big open air traditional wood and carvings with huge thatched roof. 

The pool is fantastic, Roy has used old farm equipment and recycled other items to make fittings and even the pool filter, it's pretty amazing!

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The Pool!
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The Bar!

I head back to help Emmanuel with dinner prep, and after he sends us away, we sit and a few drinks, cold beer hot dry day just what is needed!

Everyone is quite quiet during dinner, it's been a long day.  I head off to bed but can't sleep, still struggling with the itchy eyes...  thank goodness my neighbor in the next tent is a nurse!

NOVEMBER 11TH DAY 10

After breakfast and some advice from nurse Lynn (forget the drops cool water washes will help, and she is so right) we are rounded up into the truck and head out into what seems to be the middle of nowhere along a bumpy dusty road. 

When we arrive at the Sans Bushmen Living Museum we are met by a lovely lady and gentleman  with big beaming smiles and shining laughing eyes, in traditional dress, which is really just animal skins held in place with beaded string and just enough to cover their... well private parts and adorned with jewelry of shells and seeds.  They are so... tiny (no offence I just can't think of a  better word) and adorable!

They are just how I pictured them I remember reading Wilbur Smiths book 'The Burning Shore' and his description of these noble people were so intriguing!

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The Sans Bushmen!

They take us to the museum entrance and explain that this is a living museum to showcase how they traditionally live, they were once a nomadic tribe who would walk across the continent, one of Africas oldest tribes estimated to be 20,000 years old.  But with modernization it is a lifestyle they can no longer follow, of the 30,000 that live in Namibia only around 2000 of them still live by their traditions.

When we enter we are introduced to An the elder who is our guide for the morning.  Henry who greeted us when we arrived is our translator.

Women and children sit under trees, the little ones cling shyly to their mothers.

They try to teach us their language which is made up of clicks and they laugh at our efforts.

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Such amazing people!

The tour of the village is wonderful, their huts are so simple, because of their nomadic lifestyle they have to carry everything they own with them, so they relied on nature for all their needs. They never waste a thing, having a deep understanding of nature and ecology they live in harmony with their environment.

An and Henry take us on a little bush walk, pointing out which plants, leaves and roots they use for medicine, poisons and food.

They are carrying a little a skin cover cylinder and a bow, inside this cylinder is everything they need for daily life on the move, their basic tools.

With nothing more than a little metal disk (they once used bone) in the sand, dried grass and what they call the female stick An with little effort makes a fire taking the smoking grass in his hands and blowing on it till flames appear.

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A lesson in fire lighting!
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The amazing An!
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Result!

With the fire safely extinguished, An shows us how they used to track and hut.  With their little bow and arrow they would find the spoor of the animal, then testing the direction of the wind with sand would make their way down wind from animal so they wouldn't catch their scent.  Crawling along the ground would quietly get as close as they could,   They shoot the animals twice one in the body and once in the leg so it leaves clear drag marks for them to follow.

The shaft of the arrow would fall out leaving only the arrow head.  This is how they knew they had made the shot.  Then the poison on the arrow tip would take time to work thru the animals system and they would follow it sometimes for days until it died. 

He shows us his little hunting kit, the tiny bows were made out of Giraffe bones because when wet they soft and malleable and hard as rock when dry.   Henry shows us the tree where the Butterfly Lava is found, this is what makes up the poison.

His  display earns him a round of applause and he smiles with pride.  

I know that it was survival but my heart still breaks for the animal thinking of it suffering the poison, which is so potent that it was handled carefully and expertly as the slightest touch could kill.

They show us the various tools they use from their little survival kit. 

Using a circle of sticks, string and fruit to set up a snare, or and axe made of stone to cut wood

They are so proud to teach what they know.  It amazes me that they could survive by carrying so little, what an extraordinary people they are!

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Such a great morning!

With Henry as translator An tells us that the tradition hunting and roaming across Africa is long finished borders were formed between countries and National Parks were put in place to protect the animals.  

They now live in villages with their own schools so the traditions. like we have experienced here are passed down to thru the generations.

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An!

Once back at the village the women and children watch us as Henry shows around the little huts.

One women takes me by the hand to show me her home and teaches me how they make the jewelry all the women and children are adorned with.   Her smile is infectious and she is so proud of her humble home and I feel so honored to be invited in.  

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Her smile is infectious!
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Such a lovely lady!

The ladies treat us to some dancing, even the children join in.  They seem shy as they sing and clap.  They are so beautiful!

An can't help himself and with a big smile joins in the fun.  

What a wonderful morning this is, these amazing people opening up their homes and showing us their lives.  What a blessing!

They are happy to have photos taken with us and we get the thumbs with, literally!  The girls giggle and those smiles... 

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So honored to meet them!
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An and Henry!

The tour ends in the open air gift shop, everything is labeled with the name of the person who made each item so the proceeds go directly to them.  Rows of jewelry and hunting kits glitter in the sun.  Australia has such tough rules about what you can bring in, but I can't help myself and buy a small version of their carry kit, hope it makes thru customs!

An and Henry walk with us to the truck and wave us goodbye.  

What a wonderful morning!

The drive back seems bumpier than the drive to the village if that is possible.  The straight road takes us thru a dry dusty landscape with the odd green tree trying it's best survive.

After lunch and some washing that desperately needs doing, we spend the afternoon by the pool.

Workmen are rethatching the roof and watching the process is quite interesting until one of them falls off the roof actually landing on his head!  Luckily Lynn is there to help out giving him a good check over before allowing to go back to work.

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Working up there in this heat...!
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Fantastic job guys!

After another great dinner we sit around chatting, poor Victor is asked some unusual questions about life in Africa, he answers as honestly as he can, about marriage and multiple wives, how it works. I feel kinda sorry for him but he explains everything well, the first or older wives have a big part in choosing new wives so there is harmony among the family unit.  To us it seems odd but to some it makes perfect sense!

It gets late and off to bed, tomorrow we are on safari again!

Posted by Tracy87 23:34 Archived in Namibia

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