Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/491

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
483
A USEFUL PLANT—HUNTING—FISHING.

is fit for use at any time by simply mixing it with water, when it is not unlike honey in appearance, and has a sweet, agreeable flavor. Strangers, however, must use it cautiously at first, for if eaten in any large quantity it is apt to derange the stomach. The moshoma invariably grows on the banks of rivers, or in their immediate neighborhood, and may, with the greatest facility, be conveyed down the Teoge to the Lake. The Bayeye use the timber extensively for canoe-building and in the manufacture of utensils. I found the moshoma growing in Ovambo-land, and I am also given to understand that it is common throughout the countries west of the Portuguese settlements on the East Coast.

The Bayeye store their corn and other products of the soil in large baskets, not unlike those of the Ovambo, manufactured from palm-leaves and other fibrous and tenacious substances.

The Bayeye are fond of hunting, and as the country abounds in game, the spoils of the chase contribute materially to the support of the people. They are, moreover, expert fishermen. They either strike the fish with a barbed spear, or, more commonly, capture them in nets. These are made from the fibrous stalks of a species of aloe, which is found in abundance throughout the countries of the Namaquas, Damaras, the Ovambo, and others lying to the eastward, but only grows to perfection about the Teoge. The fibres are of great tenacity, apparently stronger and more flexible than hemp, though requiring less labor and attention in its growth and manufacture. Could this plant be naturalized, it would no doubt prove a valuable acquisition to any country. I believe the nets are also occasionally manufactured from fibrous and tenacious leaves, rushes, and grasses. The meshes are knotted the same way as in Europe.

From the humid nature of the country, the Bayeye, although, generally speaking, a healthy race, suffer at times from rheumatism and other similar affections. Ophthalmia