They are now getting close to the first pools. Though they are still too far off to frighten off the prey, they have to walk very carefully. Kushai has the best eyesight of the four, and he acts as lookout. Each one has his specific function on the hunt. Tuka is the best hunter, and will kill the animal. He is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the hunt. From this moment on, he will be in charge of the operation. Once they have chosen the arrows with the freshest poison, Tuka moves to the front of the line. The hunt has begun. They have hit a male oryx. They must now be patient, and not lose the trail of the wounded animal. If the arrow has hit a sensitive area, such as the neck or the lungs, the oryx will fall down dead in a matter of hours, but if not, the slow chase can go on for several days. It’s now Bo’s turn to take the lead. He is one of the best trackers in the Kalahari. So good, in fact, that he was recruited by the South African army to track down the rebels belonging to SWAPO, the Namibian guerilla group which, at the end of the eighties, fought for the independence of the country. After tracking the animal for three hours, they come across the first blood stains. Tuka has again proven what a fine marksman he is the arrow punctured the oryx’s left lung, resulting in a slow, painful death. The Bushmen are, in fact, extremely respectful of their natural environment, as many anthropologists have pointed out. When hunting, they are careful not to wound the females or the young. They gather only what is strictly necessary in order to eat, and they use the minimum amount of wood for their fires. For thousands of years, they have lived in perfect harmony with these extremely marginal lands. They must cut up the animal very quickly, because dangerous hyenas may be prowling around in the vicinity. They haven’t heard the story of what happened to the Himba chief, Yakujá Yambirú, but they certainly wouldn’t want to find themselves in a similar situation. This meat will provide enough food for a couple of weeks. They preserve it by smoking, and it belongs to the community as a whole. When meat is taken back to the village, a taster, normally an old man, must test it before anyone else can start to eat. Once they have removed the intestines, they drain the blood out into a hole made in the sand. The Bushman love bathing in blood and this is not a ritual, they are simply washing themselves. Another example of how these men have adapted to the desert. In less than an hour, they have cut up the oryx, and now they must carry it back to the village. But four men are not enough, so they will have to come back later. The meat they leave behind is wrapped in branches and aromatic herbs, and then buried. They clean away all traces of blood, so as not to attract scavengers. When the Bushmen go out gathering, they take with them reserves of water, which they leave around their territory, to be used by the men when they go out hunting. The water is kept in ostrich eggs, and buried beneath the bushes, so that it stays fresh. In the village of Opembe, day is drawing to a close. Wazindi Kiruá prepares the evening meal: beaten milk. Though the Himba could eat meat every day, they only do so on very special occasions. The cattle are their only wealth, and they must increase the size of their herds, in order to ensure the social and economic well-being of their children. But the future of the red people of the dried-up river beds is uncertain. A large part of their territory is to be flooded by the waters of the river Kunene. The governments of Namibia and Botswana have signed an agreement to build an enormous dam, which will provide electricity for a large area of the country. In the village of Chonwati, Kushai, Samgao, Tuka and Bo relax with their families around the sacred fire. With this dance, they give thanks to the good spirits for the success of the hunt and the abundance of food.