Bushmanland, Namibia

Spent a morning with the San people. This lady is making ostrich egg jewellery. She is using a stick with a pointed metal end to make holes in small pieces of egg. The pieces will then be threaded onto string and rubbed with stone to make them uniform size. The white egg pieces do not show well on the white cloth under the blazing sun.

Once everyone was there, we piled into trucks to get closer to the area where there were the plants the people wanted to show us.

The walk from the trucks was very pleasant.

This elder demonstrated the method for applying poison to the head of an arrow. He is wearing a headband of ostrich egg beads: the beads are fried to get the brown or black colouration.

The root of a very short plant was dug out of the ground for the large root which is a source of water.

The root was divided up and shared around the group. The young girls sat off to the side and waited until everyone else had had some. We were offered some: lots of water, crunchy texture but not much flavour.

The headman showed how much liquid came from a small piece of root.

The headman showed us two plants. The small sticky seed pods of the long plants are used for filters in their cigarettes. The small yellow bitter “apple” is worn as a necklace by pregnant women to counteract morning sickness.

The leaves of the plant known as mother-in-law's-tongue is scraped for the long fine fibres. The fibres are then drafted like the fibres of wool, then spun by rolling on the leg.

The resulting string-like lengths are twisted in turn to make them stronger and then the ends are woven in.

A flexible stick and the string is used to made a snare to catch ground birds such as francolin and guinea fowl.

Two sticks are rubbed together to start a fire.

The headman of the village

The lovely metre high flower of the aloe vera

The headman discussed the uses of a tree before we all headed back to the trucks.

The headman's wife decorated herself with wildflowers, and when I asked to take her photo, started smoking with great enthusiasm. She thought this made a wonderful photo.

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