Name ID 1379

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 126
Extract Date: 1903


Reports about cattle sickness at Mbugwe and Arusha were confirmed, and we were told that we could obtain a guide at the next camp to make a detour across country. After three hours' march we reached Ufiomi. The chief was a fine fellow, fairly intelligent for a savage. I bought three young bulls from him. He told me part of the money paid him was wanted for hut tax. In the afternoon he came into my tent for a chat and made me a present of a donkey. His only son and heir was a mute, whom he asked me to cure.

We procured a Masai guide for our ten days' march across country, and, not knowing where we might get to, we increased our food supply. We were destined to fare sumptuously next night, as a fair-sized water hole was discovered in the bed of the river where we were camping, and this proved to be full of mud fish. Hooks and lines were quickly got out and we were soon busy. We had a good fry for dinner, and the porters sat round and simply gorged themselves with fish and meat.

Next day at lunch the guide came up to say that his knowledge of the road ceased there, and he could guide us no farther. This came as a great surprise, as I had expected him to take us right through. If this man did not know the way, what were we to do? We were in a trackless wilderness, short of water, with very little food. We might wander for days without finding the right path. I questioned the man closely and gleaned from him that the Wanderobo, a hunting tribe, sometimes frequented these parts, and if there happened to be any in the neighborhood they might be induced to guide us. We immediately pitched camp and I sent men out in all directions to scour the country for Wanderobo. We were again lucky enough to find a water-hole with fish in it, and I had plenty of sport with rod and line. The cattle up to this time were going well and keeping healthy, the only death being that of a young calf which was very weak when we started. The men returned at sunset, but without having met any Wanderobo.

We could not move without a guide, so the next day I again sent out parties to try and find some of the hunters. About noon, some men who had been fishing down the river brought in two of the tribe. The Wanderobo are naturally timid and these men were very frightened. Through an interpreter I asked if they would act as our guides, and after they had eaten a goat and some other food they undertook to do so if I would give them a sheep each at the end of the march. To this I readily agreed.

Extract ID: 3598

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 127
Extract Date: 1903

X gets into trouble

On resuming the march I had left X behind to look after the cattle, as some Masai were reported to be about. He was acting as a kind of rearguard whilst I went ahead with the guides to find the road. All at once I heard a shot fired and rushed back to see what had happened, thinking we were attacked. A strange sight greeted me. One of my men was lying on the ground bleeding from a wound in the abdomen and the others were rushing about raving and shouting in a state of mutiny. Those who were armed were flourishing their guns, and one had his gun at full cock pointing at X.

I took in the situation at a glance. X had somehow shot this man and the rest were clamoring for revenge. I managed gradually to quieten them, and in the meantime I examined the injured man, who was not dead, though it was apparent that his wound was mortal. The Natives wanted to rush to the nearest Government station and report, but I explained to them that if X were in the wrong it was no reason why they should punish me by leaving me in the lurch. The position was critical. The timid Wanderobo had sought shelter in the bush, and were on the point of running away. We were travelling in a wild, uninhabited country, dependent entirely upon the guides, and if the men deserted it would be absolutely impossible for us to drive two hundred head of cattle through the thick bush, to say nothing of bringing along our camping outfit. Even the Natives did not know the way, and the Wanderobo alone could guide us. After a lot of talk I persuaded the men to stay, promising to report the matter myself at the first Government station we came to.

By questioning X and the men, I found out what had happened. The wounded man, who was supposed to be driving cattle, was a long way behind, and X told him to hurry up and keep with the cattle. He refused, and X foolishly threatened him with his revolver, which was in its case in his hand. The revolver must have been cocked, for it went off and shot the man. I had the injured man carried into camp and doctored him as well as I could. X afterwards told me that if I had not come on the scene he would certainly have been killed, or had to flee into the bush.

As an evidence of good faith to the men, I took possession of the revolver and locked it up in a tin box, where I promised to keep it until we got to the Government station, but it was some time before I succeeded in pacifying the men and getting them in the humour to go on again. A roughly constructed hammock was prepared for the wounded man, and I told off six of his tribe to carry him.

At the end of the next day's march we came to a settlement of Wanderobo, on the edge of the forest and close to a beautiful stream of water coming down the mountain-side. The chief brought me some honey as a sign of friendship, and I gave him a present. They were very similar to the Wanderobo I met round Kenya, and, like all their tribe they did nothing but hunt. Every day they killed some kind of game.

We camped near water, and were kept up all night by animals coming to drink. The country was teeming with game, and herds of zebra and other animals came in a continual procession to the water. When the Natives drove them away it was pitiful to watch them returning again and again and hanging about for the chance to quench their thirst.

Extract ID: 3599

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 128

Returning to Arusha

We secured another guide from the Wanderobo settlement, our old guides having been dispensed with. As no water was to be obtained at the next two camps, we took a supply with us. Two days' march through the same rugged country brought us on the outskirts of Arusha. That night, as the boys drove the cattle down to the river, I heard shouting and some of the men calling "Simba!" (lion). Picking up my gun, I rushed out on the chance of getting a shot. In the gathering dusk, which follows so quickly on the African sunset, I caught a glimpse of a lion disappearing over a ridge on the opposite side of the river, I ran up the hill, but it was too dark to see anything. Returning to camp, I got the boys to make a specially strong fence and light plenty of fires, at the same time giving them instructions to keep a sharp look-out, which was a wise precaution, as lions were prowling round the camp the whole night.

The wounded man now expressed a wish to go back home, and when I spoke to the other Wanyamwezi, who were from the same village, I found they were all anxious to get home. They had forgotten their anger against X, but I was quite prepared to give them extra pay to compensate them for what had happened. I gave the wounded man a hundred rupees, and I admit I was not sorry to get rid of them, as a wounded man on a stretcher was naturally a hindrance to the caravan. It took six men to carry him. So that night I paid them all off, giving them three weeks to get home, and paying them their wages up to the very day they expected to arrive at their own village.

Extract ID: 3600