Padre Miguel

Name ID 1143

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Arusha Times
Extract Author: Mussa Rajab and Said Njuki
Extract Date: March 17, 2001

Hunger force bushmen to pose for tourists

The forest may no longer be as paradise for the bush men of Hadzabe tribe in the Mang'ola division of Karatu district, because a recent strike of famine is reported to have driven the hard core forest dwellers into a new trade of posing for the tourists who nowadays visit the area frequently.

The Hadzabe bush men, who throughout their lives have been surviving on hunting wild animals, fruits and plant roots have finally found the going getting tougher with each passing day since the animals have disappeared from Mang'ola forests while the vegetation are also drying up.

Again, it is reported that civilization has also had a hand in their plight because "their' forest has also been invaded by people who chops down trees for commercial purpose.

It's due to this therefore, that most of them are now being subjected to pose for tourists who give them some money before taking their pictures.

The Chairman of Karatu District Council, Lazaro Massay confirmed the presence of such activities, saying that hunger has forced the Hadzabe people to find means of providing for themselves, and that they use the money to buy food.

Previously, the bush men had even started feeding on animal skins once used for their clothing.

However, it is also reported that the tourists don't exactly pay the bush men directly, since a team of self appointed "middle men", acts as "talent agents" for the gullible Hadzabe people.

The middle men, are also reported to rip-off the bush men on their earnings since they only pay them between Tsh.300 and Tsh.500 per single shooting while they are said to charge the tourists thousands of money.

There have also been allegations that, the bush men are forced to pose naked or performing sexual acts but efforts to contact the district council chairman by phone to verify whether these claims were true failed since he was always out of his office when ever we called.

Last week, the Karatu Member of Parliament, Wilbroad Slaa also visited the Qanded area where these bush men live and managed to witness for himself how bad the situation was.

Meanwhile, the priest of Mang'ola Catholic Parish, Padre Miguel has given out a total of 8 sacks of maize to the suffering bush men.

Padre Miguel is also reported to have adopted about 20 Hadzabe young girls in a bid to try and assist them for their plight.

Karatu district is one of the country's 33 districts which have been very much affected by drought.

The World Food Programme recently distributed over 1,000 tons of food to Karatu, Hanang and Mbulu districts in Arusha region.

Also, the CARITAS office in the Mbulu Catholic Diocese distributed over 20 tons of cereal seeds worth Tsh.37 million, to the 19 villages in the Karatu district.

Extract ID: 3124
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