. . . . but I didn’t inhale!

Marijuana, that is.  So, just like Bill Clinton, I think I can now run for president.

I think I’m at least as honest as any presidential candidate that I can remember.  I’ve got international experience.  I know the name of the Tanzanian president.  I think.  I could make America great, again!  No proof, but who needs that?  Not sure I would build a wall, but maybe.  I think I would be decisive if I won.  Maybe.  But I could change my mind. That would be my prerogative.

Hudzabe politics would be simpler, though.  I would only need to learn to shoot an arrow.  Straight.  Mostly.  I could develop the arm strength to pull the bow string back.  Far enough to make it shoot maybe 50 meters.  50 feet, maybe.  Put a barn up, I could hit it.  Up close, anyway.

The Israeli guy couldn’t even get the arrow to the target, 50 feet away.  Maybe 25 feet.  I got it farther than he did.  A long ways!  Even went past the target.  But like the fish I generally catch and throw back . . . . Never mind!

On Saturday, several of us took a day trip.  Visited the Hudzabe.  They carry privilege.  Like people in Colorado, they smoke their privilege.  Like the United States, Tanzania law makes it illegal to smoke pot.  But like Colorado, the Hudzabe do it, anyway.  Legally.  They think.  Part of their culture.  And, who’s going to stop them?  No law enforcement, there.  Would you want to sneak up on them?

Bush people.  They hunt their food.  Every day.  Or, whenever they get hungry.  They wander around bush country.  They hide behind bramble.  Not for modesty sake.  They don’t wear clothes.  They see an animal?  They shoot it.  Probably a law enforcement animal, too.  Maybe even a TZ politician.  I wouldn’t test it.

They won’t shoot a hyena.  Or, a small snake.  Hyenas clean the carcass of their dead.  No burials needed.  They consider the small snakes poisonous to eat.  They eat everything else that they kill.  No discrimination.  Just meat.  Just business.

We drove for maybe 4 or 5 hours before we got there.  Worth it, though.  We hiked in.  Another party riding in the typical modified safari Land Cruiser arrived there about the same time that we did.  I didn’t get his name, but the Jewish guy (they were probably all Jewish) and I struck up a conversation, a bit.  He said he planned to visit Denver and do a road trip to San Diego.  Wondered if Colorado beauty rivaled that of Banff, Canada.  He had previously visited there.  Told him I wasn’t sure, but that we had visited there, once, also.  Did some consulting work there for several months.

We found four Hadzabe guys hiding under a rock overhang.  Our guide told us how to say “Hi” in their language (not Swahili, not Maasai).  Shook hands.  A friendly group.  They whittled arrows, smoked a little something.  Didn’t ask.  They feathered their arrows, too.  The one guy looked down the shaft to make sure it would fly straight.  Kept whittling.

I took pictures.  They didn’t mind.  Recently, as I understand it, they began accepting tourists.  We needed to register before hiking in to see them.  Paid a fee.  They may use it to buy their weed, per Lota or Calvin.  Makes sense, sort of.  They wouldn’t grow it, ‘cuz they don’t stick around anywhere very long.    Not growers.  They get around.  Always hunting.  Not sure who grows the stuff they like.  Maybe another tribe.

They took us to their campsite.  Temporary grass huts.  About four or five women, two little kids.  Neither more than three or four.  Likely, either one could shoot an arrow straighter and farther than I.

Two chunks of meat hung from a tree branch.  Already fairly dry, so the flies mostly abandoned it.  Their supper.  Might need to hunt that evening or the next morning.

Invited us into one of their huts.  Sat on the skin of a water buck, or similar.  Constituted a bed.  Couldn’t bounce on it, though.  Taught us how to make fire.  An arrow with a blunt point.  Twirled it into a flat stick, cushioned against the blade of a knife.  Rolled the arrow-like stick between their hands, made the end of the stick hot.  Made an ember from slight shavings.  Fire!  Yup, I did it, too.

Lit a pipe and smoked it.  Passed it to me.  Took a puff, hardly got anything.  Encouragement.  Tried it again, and coughed a nice billow of smoke.  Calvin or Lota looked at me.  Told me I had just smoked weed, pot.  Broke the law!  No worries, though.  No enforcement officers out here.  Whatever might have been, the hyenas likely cleaned up.

They lined up for us.  Did a line dance.  A couple mzungu (white guys) joined in.  Made their own music.  Not quite rap, but not far off.  The leader let out a whoop, every now and then.  Moved around in a circle.  Several times.  Reversed.  Made me dizzy.  Maybe the weed, though.

Took us to their target range.  Didn’t know where we were going, so they needed to tell me to get out of the way.  Arrows started flying.  They had set up a target.  Might have once been a small plant, maybe a soft piece of baobab tree.  It stuck arrows nicely, when hit.  Three of them demonstrated.  Got out of the way by then.

Not the kind of bow and arrows that you find at Dick’s Sporting Goods store.  All hand made.  Nice, tight bow string.  Could hardly pull it back.  Neither could Lota or Calvin.  The Israeli guy, the worst.  Eight or nine feet, maybe.  Nice arch, though.  Reminded me of a couple quarterbacks I’ve seen floating a ball out there . . . after their arm got hit.  The kind that a lineman might intercept and take to the house.  I figured I could do better.  Tried.  Not much better.  Didn’t want to embarrass the other guy too badly!

We hiked back to the van.  Stopped at the site of another tribal group.  The Datoga Tribe.  Walked into their bramble-encircled village.  Huts again made of sticks and grass.  Had a fire already going.  Made molten metal from raw brass, copper, aluminum.  Rigged their fire with a set of hand-pump billows and air channels that goosed the fire from beneath.  Threw some stuff on it to really make it hot.  Melted it inside a small, steal crevice-like scrap.  Pored it into a narrow channel, made it cool.  Hammered it into bracelets.

They also made arrow heads and knives out of steel.  Souvenirs, I know.  Bought a couple.  Typical tourist!  Paid way too much, I know.

Drove home, got there in the dark.  A long day.  A good one.  Not many tourists there.  Could have stuck around and accompanied the Hudzabe on a hunt.  Figured one of them might have mistaken us for lawmen, though.  Or other animal prey.  Discretion the better part, you see.

I could run for president.  Of the Hudzabe.  Would only need one vote, ‘cuz the rest would never know about the election.  Could probably pass another law against smoking marijuana.  Wouldn’t enforce it, though.  Would hate to feed the hyena.

After I ruled for a while, I wonder if they might mistake me for a small snake?  Might leave me alone, that way.  Not eat me, anyway.  Unless a big snake.

Think I’ll stay out of politics.  Hudzabe politics, anyway.

American politics?  Why not?  I didn’t inhale!

(Mostly.)

John

10/9/2017