Georgian TV presenter, who has traveled to 112 countries and 5 continents
28 March, 2019
 Georgian TV presenter, who has traveled to 112 countries and 5 continents
We are sitting by the fire and the chief tells me: You behave as if you were one of us; you do not seem to be European, you do not show disdain for anyone or anything. And he added ‘’I will now throw a spear and you can spend a night with my wife who lives is the Boma nearest to where the spear falls (his three wives lived in different Bomas).

Older generation must remember Arnold Gegechkori from TV. He
was a presenter of a series of “Bunebis Kari” [“Wild Nature”] for 32 years. Mr. Arnold Gegechkori is a Doctor of Biological Sciences, a Professor at the Tbilisi State University, Academician of different sciences, author of a number of scientific papers and books. The world traveler has traveled to 112 countries on 5 continents. ‘’When I was 19 years old, I fell off a horse and flew 50 meters down an abyss, I broke my left arm, I thought it was a real extreme adventure, knowing nothing of what awaited me in the future”. He says with a smile on his face. Well, this experience really seems funny if compared with a fortnight spent with the Maasai and Bindibu tribes. So, what we are going to tell you now is not a fiction but real adventures, experienced by our respondent.

A primitive life with the Bindibu Tribe


I delivered lectures at the University of Sydney in Australia for several years. It was during that period I first had a desire to meet some people living primitive lives in the wilderness. The Bindibu Tribe was discovered in 1953, the people in the tribe are now at the earliest period of human development - living in the Paleolithic Era – to be more precise. They have never worked with metal or planted anything. They disavow any elements of civilization. Centuries ago, people like them were killed in Australia, but now they are subject to care and much attention – they are part of a kind of business – these people have been turned into the elements of exotic tourism. That’s why they always have an English language speaker in the tribe. I stayed with them for two weeks living their daily life.
arnold_gegechkori
- Where did you live?

- In a desert – in construction made from straw and reeds and resembling a hut or rather our bus shelters. They rotate this construction in accordance with the sun's path throughout the day to shelter themselves from direct sun rays. They sleep on the ground on pieces of rush matting and only cover their genitals. Dirt and unfavorable environmental conditions do not harm them; they have an innate immune defense against them. A 40-year-old man is considered to be an experienced hunter because he can hunt a rock kangaroo. The best hunter has the most wives. No woman will marry a 20-year-old man, who can only hunt the varans - a large reptile from the family of lizards. Women and children collect beetles and worms from the roots of acacias (there are about 500 species of acacia in Australia) for food. In the evening, they dig a pit, put some thin stones in it and make a fire. When the flames start to appear, they put kangaroo meat in the pit, cover the top of the pit with animal skin and finally grill the meat.

- Were you treated to that meat?

- Yes, I was. All are equal there. There is no hierarchy, the only exception is a shaman, who is a highly respected person in the community. After kangaroo meat is ready, varans, which have white meat, are thrown onto glowing embers, followed by beetles and worms collected by women, they are thrown into hot ashes and they start cracking and popping. The food is crunchy like popcorn and is rich in proteins. It came as a surprise dessert on the menu.

- Did you really have all these?

- Of course, I did. There is no water near the place where the Bindibus live. Some of the roots of the plants go a meter and a half deep under the ground to take in water from the ground. They dig up such plants to get some water, and this is how they dig their wells. I lived there with the Bindibu tribe for two weeks. I accompanied the men when they were hunting lizards and we got on pretty well communicating with one another using body language. While hunting, they use spears made of a sharp-tipped flint fastened to a shaft.

The farewell ceremony was very exciting. Bindibu aborigines organized a ritual: they stood around a circle painted white, holding hands and dancing, rhythmically moving their arms up and down and giving dance calls: shouts and cries. Then they opened the circle, asking me to stand in the middle and dance like them. That was how I found myself participating in the farewell ritual.

“The Pygmies don’t have a concept of my wife or your wife…”


- You lived in Africa with local tribes in 2001, didn’t you?

- I spent 6 days with Pygmies living in the basin of Congo River, (ethnic groups living in tropical forests of equatorial Africa, whose average height is unusually short). They are very naïve. The tribes of Pygmies are polygamists, they don’t have a concept of my wife or your wife. They have their dwellings erected on pillars, to protect themselves from reptiles or crocodiles or from moisture. Hunting elephants is anything but easy, but they have their own technics: they hide inside some ditches and throw their spears up and into an elephant’s stomach from below and towards its heart when the elephant passes over the ditch. If the elephant does not die immediately, it starts roaring, running, attacking them and sometimes trampling many of them, though it will always end up being served as their food.
arnold_gegechkori
- Were you treated to elephant meat?

- I was treated to gazelle and poultry meat.

“Three Maasai spearmen followed me to protect me from being attacked by a lion’’


I spent a fortnight living among the Maasai tribes. They live a semi-nomadic life in Kenya and Tanzania. The tribe has a kind of military rule: they start to train boys physically as soon as they are 6 years old. They are so well trained and fit that if they participated in athletics competitions, one out of three of them would become an Olympic champion. They are highly disciplined people and intentionally avoid contacts with the Europeans.

Hunting and livestock provide their main source of livelihood. Their diet primarily consists of meat. Men have long hair, whereas women shave their heads. Their dwelling is built of mud and dung and they call them Bomas. Their arched Bomas are arranged in a circle forming a village, which is enclosed in a circular fence up to 2 meters in height, to protect the village from being attacked by a lion. Three Maasai spearmen followed me to protect me from being attacked by a lion’.

On the third day, the chief of the tribe tells me: - You have passed the test, you have got used to our lifestyle, you do not feel contempt for either dung or flies. Well done! Then he spat on his palm and extended his hand to shake hands with me. This was the first ritual aiming at forming close relations. I had no choice but to shake hands with him; so I did. Three days later he offered me their beverage called Gatkhi and made from milk mixed with raw blood from cattle. I was about to throw up, wishing I would not. And in the end, I passed this test as well.
arnold_gegechkori
Livestock husbandry is one of the main occupations of the Maasai people. The men who have 100 zebus are allowed to have only one wife; the chief of the tribe had 300 zebus and had 3 wives. One evening, we are sitting by the fire and the chief tells me: You behave as if you were one of us; you do not seem to be European, you do not show disdain for anyone or anything. And he added ‘’I will now throw a spear and you can spend a night with my wife who lives in the Boma nearest to where the spear falls (his three wives lived in different Bomas). This is the highest respect one can earn. In an attempt to evade his offer I told him that it would equal to a violation of rules, as this kind of behavior was not acceptable in my society. He got angry with me for my attempt to tell him what was right and what was wrong. Then he told me that all the white men were the same and that I was going to get nothing from them. We made up in the end but I managed to decline the prize. When I shook hands with the chief to say goodbye, he did not want to let me go, telling me that I was obliged to treat his eye disorder first. Their huts, which are built using dung, attract flies, which lay eggs near their tear ducts; hence their eye disorders. I tried to explain to him that I was a doctor of sciences and not a physician; but he did not let me go until I promised to send a physician, who would treat his eye disorder.

- They say you once declined an offer to become a minister.

- Yes, I did. I was once offered the post of the first minister of a newly established Ministry of Environment Protection, but I belong to Nature, not to an office.

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Pope Francis has sent a letter to Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II and commemorated the Patriarch's hospitality during his visit to Georgia three years ago.
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