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Honeyguide Newsletters: Fall 2002

About Africa

Barabaig children attending school with their new school desks!

The Honeyguide: Fall 2002
38 Desks and a Gidaeshtayda

Another Land's newest cultural program is with the Barabaig, a secretive nomadic tribe who are respected and feared for their ability to control the rain. The Barabaig are one of the few tribes that have chosen not to adapt their traditional culture to 'mainstream' Tanzanian society. In recent months, a few small groups of Another Land travelers have had the privilege of visiting the Barabaig village, learning the secrets of rainmaking and sharing in everyday life with their enthusiastic hosts.

We are overjoyed when the lives of our friends in the villages are brightened by the cultural exchange and,by the proceeds given to the village from each visit. Even though this summer was the first that Another Land travelers have visited the Barabaig village, our Barabaig friends have already been able to afford to pay for some significant projects. In fact, Another Land's work in the Barabaig village has sparked quite a bit of interest. Even the Prime Minister has followed our progress and is impressed with the results.

This August, The Barabaig chief and villagers went to great lengths to express their gratitude and satisfaction with the cultural program. Nichole Smaglick, Another Land's president and founder of the Barabaig program, was given two special gifts made for her by the chief's wives. Traditionally, these gifts are only made by a mother for her daughter and not given to outsiders. One gift was a Gidaeshtayda, a spherical gourd completely covered with beads and beaded fringe. A Gidaeshtayda is carried by brides on their wedding day and is analogous to a wedding bouquet. The other gift was a Gwerida, a gourd with a tight fitted, beaded lid. A Gwerida is a special dish used by wives to serve ughali and fatty meats to their husband. Symbolically, then, Nichole has been accepted as a daughter by the village chairman and wives - a monumental act for the Barabaig.

The following letter was sent to Nichole on behalf of the Barabaig village. It relates how the proceeds from just a handful of travelers have made a few dreams come true for the Barabaig..


Dear Nichole,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Barabaig chairman and villagers.

They would like to thank their visitors for coming to the village with interest in their culture, without trying to change them, an open mind, tolerance and respect. They made them proud of their culture, motivated them to carry on with their customs and gave them friends from another land.

They used the money wisely:

They bought 38 school desks for their Primary School.
As women have to walk every day between 12 and 20 km each way to fetch water the village decided to ask a surveyor from Arusha Water Section to come, find a suitable place for a dam, draw a map and write a proposal which is to be sent to various donor agencies.

You can see that this will make a tremendous difference to all the villagers. It has given them hope and trust in the future.

Thank you again for your wonderful help.


About The Honeyguide

The Honeyguide - a monthly email newsletter - is named after the Greater Honey Guide, a bird that has developed the remarkable habit of leading tribespeople to wild bees' nests, with the promise of honeycomb and grubs once the humans have opened the nest and taken the honey. The complementary relationship shared by bird and human represents the newsletter's goal - to periodically lead readers to new and timely bits of information about East African wildlife, culture, and travel.

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