Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/205

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197
LOVE OF COUNTRY—HOW THEY EAT.

knowledge only one king. But a Damara," they would add, with a contemptuous smile, "when possessed of a few cows, considers himself at once a chieftain."

The people have also very strong local attachments. At an after period, while Mr. Galton was waiting at St. Helena for a ship to convey him to England, he was told "that slaves were not exported from south of Benguela because they never thrived when taken away, but became home-sick and died." This, no doubt, refers in part to the Ovambo. Moreover, though people of every class and tribe are permitted to intermarry with them, they are, in such case, never allowed to leave the country.

The Ovambo are decidedly hospitable. We often had the good fortune to partake of their liberality. Their staple food is a kind of coarse stir-about, which is always served hot, either with melted butter or sour milk.

Being once on a shooting excursion, our guide took us to a friend's house, where we were regaled with the above fare. But, as no spoons accompanied it, we felt at a loss how to set to work. On seeing the dilemma we were in, our host quickly plunged his greasy fingers into the middle of the steaming mess, and brought out a handfull, which he dashed into the milk. Having stirred it quickly round with all his might, he next opened his spacious mouth, in which the agreeable mixture vanished as if by magic. He finally licked his fingers and smacked his lips with evident satisfaction, looking at us
MEAT-DISH.
as much as to say, "That's the trick, my boys!" However unpleasant this initiation might have appeared to us, it would have been ungrateful, if not offensive, to refuse; therefore we commenced in earnest, according to example, emptying the dish, and occasionally burning our fingers, to the great amusement of our swarthy friends.