Go native - Food and Travel
Detached from society and upholding millennia-old tradition, the last remaining tribes on Earth are a window into the society from whence we came. In this feature I uncover those you can visit, learn about and give something back to. Read the full story here or get a sense of it from the excerpts below.
Study a 20 kina note and you’ll notice a boar’s head framed by shells. This is Papua New Guinea, where pigs are ranked higher than children and women in the social pecking order. Indeed, a pig is more useful than a sack full of notes when visiting the Melpa people, who live in the Wahgi Valley near Mount Hagen.
It is a curious contradiction that the most decorated people on Earth have never seen themselves in a mirror. The Omo River Valley, 165sq km of riverine forests and volcanic tuff, is home to 200,000 people living pre-industrial lifestyles. The odd plastic jerrycan for carrying water has reached them; reflective surfaces have not. However, this doesn’t stop them using their bodies as canvases to express their tribal identities.
There’s the Garos, who live high in the lush hills of Meghalaya and only allow women to inherit property; the Konyaks of Nagaland, the world’s last head-hunters (the tradition stopped some 20 years ago) and the Khasis of Nongriat, who coax the roots of trees to grow into living footbridges over mountain streams.
Pink dolphins may sound almost as plausible as flying pigs but deep in the Peruvian Amazon, reality becomes rather fluid. Huge ‘islands’ of water flowers occasionally block the river and bibosi and motacú trees grow intertwined like lovers.