In Search of Drops of Golden Sun
by Christy Ihlo -- July 13th, 2012
The afternoon started out promising enough – part of today’s summer camp adventure was watching the Hadza collect honey from a tree near Noloholo. Unfortunately, the hive had very little honey, leaving the kids a bit disappointed and sending me on a trek through the bush with the Hadza and one of Noloholo’s staff members, JumaNne, in search of honey. I was fortunate enough to tag along so I could check a few camera traps along the way (funny, we never got to the camera traps….).
We headed off, forging a new path through the bush. I quickly realized that just striking out through the brush was not something I would ordinarily undertake and decided to follow exactly in the footsteps of the Hadza! We came upon a huge baobob tree with a hive in one of the upper branches. The Hadza and JumaNne wasted no time in building a small fire and climbing into the tree. I started snapping away with my camera and then realized I had not asked permission to take pictures (I had blanket permission to take pictures of anything related to summer camp, but we were away from the kids so I thought I really should have asked). Being that these were Hadzabe and not Maasai, I was reasonably certain that it was okay, but I still felt a little bit bad about not checking first…that is until I heard “Chris!” and I turned to find Alagu hanging off the side of the tree with a giant grin on his face and waving! Pictures were just fine apparently – they actually directed me to the other side of the tree which had much better light and I was able to get lots of pictures of them attempting to get honey. But again, the hive was nearly empty. Sigh. So we headed back to Noloholo, but one of the Hadza started to wander away a bit. He was following the call of the “honey bird.” This particular species, and I regret to say I don’t know the proper name for it, is nearly always found near hives and has a particular song for when they are basically at the hive. Sure enough, they managed to find yet a third hive and went to work immediately. This hive was in the middle of a thicket and I have no idea how they managed to find it. Alas, once again, only a small amount of honey – it was tasty though! Perhaps we will head out on another expedition in the coming weeks, in search of drops of golden sun.