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"Try some, Br. Bert. They’re delicious. They taste like peanuts," was the callfrom grinning, munching Sebastian. This Bantu had a delighted face, twinkling eyes and a mouth surrounded byremnants of ant wings. I retrieved another irritating specimen caught betweenmy glasses and left eye. It looked as big as a bee as I held it by the wingspinched between two fingers. It curled its abdomen up towards its head. I justcouldn’t do it; I couldn’t put it into my mouth. Sebastian solved the problem forme by shoving a couple into my mouth, like a kid giving me sweets. If you can ignore the scratching legs on your tongue, the taste, after a coupleof crunches went from "not bad," then, "rather good", then "delicious!" Fromthen on I was swiping for my own handfuls with the rest. The clean up came next morning. We were sweeping and shovelling out antsand their discarded wings by the hundred of thousands. It’s not good to eatthe ants after they die. The swarming season lasted a couple of weeks. Thencame the rains. Nobody ever got sick eating those meals on wings. A wedding is more like a season then an event. Weddings last for days. Theusual wedding present is a live chicken. I also presented a shirt for the groom,a few yards of cloth for the bride and a couple of kilos of rice. There wasnever much food around. You have to wait your turn to be called into the mudhut to greet the happy couple, after which you join in the dance. The rhythm of the drums penetrates your whole being and the overflowing joyand fun of the guests is contagious. The dancing guests formed ever closingconcentric circles till the dancers engulfed the sweating drummers. Thedrummers and their drums of all sizes were in the centre of a moving, circling,rhythmic-jumping, disc of humanity. I was snatched into the outer ring and halfan hour later was still trapped and jumping inside the disc of ecstatic dancers.
The wedding that I remember most vividly, was that of the chief’s son. Theywanted meat and because the chief was also one of the most powerful localpolitical figures, they obtained permission to kill a couple of buffalo. Arnold, aSwiss volunteer had his rifle and the police had his bullets. The police agreedto release six of his bullets for the hunt. He told me that a hunt might be onthe next day and asked was I interested? "The police have already issued my bullets," he added. "Interested? Need you ask? My word!" gets close to the nature of myresponses. Meat was something we had not seen for weeks and perhaps we could scorepart of the kill? It’s not a simple thing to go hunting in a State that has decreedit illegal for the local population. Lots of people are involved: a warden mustbe present to ensure the conditions of the hunt are kept; three trackers areneeded to make sure we find the right prey; eight cutters to butcher the meat;then there was Arnold and I. We made up a party of fourteen. Everyone wantsto go on a legal hunt, so we had to keep mum to keep the numbers down.