Another Land Honeyguide
April 2008
Spring Color

Spring Bags
Accessorise!  Our colors compliment this spring's fashions beautifully. 

Livingstone Bag
Our latest arrival - the Livingstone Bag.

Shop online, or come into the studio.

612-821-6465 for appointments.

Special Event!
May 1

A goat for Mom

It's thoroughly Good! Good for women in Niger, Good for women in Tanzania and Good meaningful shopping for you.

The Story of the Honeyguide
Our periodic 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.

Join Our Mailing List

With Nichole off directing a wildlife shoot for the Ngorongoro Conservation area in Tanzania, it has fallen to me to put together this edition of our Honeyguide.  In search of inspiration for a great story that would wow all I embarked on a safari of our files, spoke to our producers at the Amias Project, dug around in our photo albums, checked in with some travellers, and finally decided on a story about fair trade in celebration of our recent membership to the Fair Trade Federation.  As I struggled to make the copy humorous and interesting I got an e-mail from Nichole, filling me in on her latest adventures.  My rather academic article was quickly tossed in the trash and our April issue of the Honeyguide is instead a portion of that very e-mail written by Nichole herself (with the exception of an edit or two for clarification) from the other side of the planet.  Why mess with tradition?

Wishing you all a very happy Spring,

Marguerite von Duerckheim

The Hand Massage (on a Bus)

Ngorongoro LionsFor the past week or so, I have been directing a wildlife video shoot in Tanzania's Ngorongoro Conservation Area. I needed to break away for a few days to open a new office for The Amias Project, 8 hours away, in the town of Katesh. Usually, I travel by a private 4wd vehicle for comfort and safety reasons. Yet, I may occasionally travel by local bus out of miserliness and a need of a change of pace.

African bus rides are exercises in patience, adventure, culture, fear, and friendly miracles. On one of the stops on my way down to Katesh, a crazy woman boarded both to accost the passengers and to offer her services to clean the bus from discarded water bottles and other rubbish. When she saw me, the rare light-skinned passenger, her crazy light turned on full force as she expressed to all that I (and all light skinned people) eat Africans. I apparently steal Africans from the villages and take them to Babati, where I consume my victims in private. She outlined my African eating activities in such rehearsed detail, that I could not help but chuckle a bit, which was a mistake. After a few more minutes of both I and the other passengers ignoring her ranting (other than passing her a few bits of trash and some shillings), she stepped off the bus, chatting about my diet all theway.

Two days later in Katesh, after a successful office opening, I boarded a similar, early morning bus back towards Ngorongoro. As usual, this was a noisy ride. The plexi-glass windows rattled as we bounced along the convoluted rocky road. The transmission whistled like a teakettle, screeching louder and higher as the bus would accelerate to each gear shifting point. The woman seated behind me rhythmically moaned her favorite church hymn over and over. Ironically, this typical bus cacophony always seems to be the best environment for either deep sleep or for striking up a conversation with other passengers.

Barabaig Bracelets
I sat next to a 65 year- old Barabaig man, named Gandhi. Across the aisle sat two of his young wives. Gandhi looked down at the Barabaig brass bracelet I was wearing and said, "You have become a Barabaig, I see." He took my wrist, inspected my bracelet and began to squeeze the muscles in my hand in true Barabaig hand-massage fashion.  For the most part, public displays of affection between the genders in Africa is rare, but not for the Barabaig. They love to hold hands, squeeze hands, play with the other's jewelry, and this is between friends, family members, lovers, spouses, etc. Gandhi then said, "If I do this to your hand, you will become soft." True, true - I have always enjoyed Barabaig hand massages.

After a few minutes Gandhi asks if I have given birth. I say no, and know that this means that I am still young and available. It does not matter that I am already married. If I have not given birth, then I am fair game. A common complaint among my female friends in the US is that American men fear commitment. I would like to bring them to Barabaig lands, where they would get all sorts of marriage proposals in just a few weeks. I could see it coming . . . Gandhi suggests that we should get married. I then reply with my standard line, "Ok, but you will be the second husband. Is that ok for you?"
"Yes - I don't mind." (The whistle of the teakettle bus gets louder.)
"But my husband won't like it if I get a second husband."
"Oh, he won't care. Men don't care about these things."
"But you would have to move to Minnesota and it is very cold there."
"That's ok. I'll wear clothes like yours." 
The bus driver shifts gears and the whistle fades a bit. We continue the discourse for a few more minutes before I bring out the clincher comment. "But there are no cows where I live in Minneapolis."
"WHAT! No Cows? Oh, I'm sorry. We can't get married."
The Third WifeWhile accepting that I cannot become his wife, he still treats me like one of his wives during the bus ride. Gandhi is our personal tour guide. He points out to his two wives and me every interesting feature outside the window. When the bus conductor comes round to collect tickets, he makes sure that mine is collected along with the tickets of his other wives. His wives ask questions of me through Gandhi. "Has she given birth? Where is she going? Can she visit us?" etc.

The bus comes to the stop of Gandhi and his wives. He turns to me one last time and asks if I would get off the bus here and stay with his family. I express thanks and simultaneous regrets. I look out the window to see his wives waving good-bye to me. The bus pulls away, the woman behind me restarts her church hymn, the transmission begins to whistle and I am off with a well-massaged hand to my little adventure.

Nichole Smaglick