Eating Christmas in the Kalahari
Ivy Tech Community College
“Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” is a story about of how Richard Borshay Lee explores the culture of the !Kung Bushmen natives in the Kalahari Desert. During his journey, his purpose was to find out how hunting and gathering helped the economy of the Bushmen. In order to do this he had to make sure not to supply them with any food, share his own food, or to interfere with any of the gather activities they were doing. Since he was not going to help with food he could supply tobacco and medical supplies. Even though, this helped some it was not enough to hide the difference in wealth between him and the ...view middle of the document...
Family is the most reliable basis of life within this culture. Neighbors also have an effect. . Neighbors come once a year to feast and dance but they also bring information and stories with them. Within that experience they bring the hidden things your family may never see that neighbors teach you as much as you teach them.
With the end of his study approaching, Lee decided to supply the meat for the Christmas feast as a parting gift. Bushmen take this meal extremely serious because they rely on this meat to get them full, which is something they don’t experience throughout the entire year. So, after Lee purchased the biggest and strongest looking ox he can find, the village heard about it from word of mouth. Bushman after Bushman approached Lee with sarcastic jokes about how foolish he was to have purchased a weak and meatless ox. Lee does not understand why they are being sarcastic and cruel but he believes every word they say. The tribe’s comments causes Lee to be disappointed in himself and feels that has ruined the feast. Lee felt so bad he almost left! Later on he learns at the feast how strong and meaty this ox was. He then realizes they were only joking around previously. He never took into account the Bushmen’s cultural sarcasm. This helped him not only learn something about Bushman culture, but also something about his own culture.
The Gemeinschaft within this story is that their tribe is so close they teach and treat one another the same always no matter what. Things are taught more different than we would, but they teach that arrogance is a bad influence to have in life and is not tolerated. By universal teaching this is what brings them closer together. Christmas was one even that brought the tribe together. They would feast on the ox and share equally within their unit. The feasting and dancing made their unit feel as “one”. The Christmas celebration would be a way for them to celebrate their survival as well as them learning and leaning on one another one time a year. Lee was not seen as a part of the tribe. He could...