Different Strokes

I often find myself assuming that people all over the world face the same issues, regardless of their location. Of course, I understand this isn’t the case at all. Still, after watching The Hunters, a documentary about members of the Jul’Hoansi tribe of the Kalahari Desert, I was surprised by the differences between their lifestyle and that of Western civilization.

The narrator and director of the film, John Marshall, describes the gender roles within the tribe. Women spend their entire lives searching for roots for their families to eat. Every day, they dig around in the dirt, picking at the roots of plants until they find some big enough to eat. Men spend their time hunting. Boys learn from an early age to hunt animals. However, there isn’t a formal method of instruction. Instead, they learn independently, finding the best methods for themselves.

Eating is an entirely different experience for them than it is for us. For days, the men shoot their arrows at a giraffe before finally bringing it down. In the US, slaughterhouses kill thousands of cows in a single day. The Jul’Hoansi are incredibly intimate with their food. After all, most of their time is spent obtaining it. Westerners are so disconnected from our food that we need documentaries to tell us where exactly it comes from.

Initially, I couldn’t understand why people would want this kind of lifestyle. But after I thought about it, it seemed kind of nice. They’re surrounded by good people, and they don’t have any of the annoyances that accompany modern technology. Surviving on the very basic essentials is hard, I’m sure. However, I’m sure there benefits.

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