National Geographic : 1924 Jan
ADVENTURES AMONG THE "LOST TRIBES OF ISLAM" TIIE CALF OF THE OPPOSITE PAGE A FEW MONTHS LATER The flesh of the young camel is said to resemble veal and is a favorite food for Arabs, while camel's milk is highly prized as a beverage. Africa take ships from those ports and go by way of the Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, and Red Sea to Jidda; but this route is closed to the poorer class, who, therefore, have to travel overland. Selling all that they possess, the hardy Hausa tribesmen of Nigeria purchase as many bulls and cows as they can and set out, the children and old women being mounted on the patient beasts, upon which also are loaded cooking pots and innu merable bits of paraphernalia. The braves amble along, brandishing their throwing spears, while the oldest man carries a spear about Io feet long to add to the dignity of his age. TwO YEARS FROM MECCA The journey to Mecca takes about two years. Much of the ground to be covered is practically waterless, and there are great hardships to endure. The pilgrims follow the main caravan routes across Nigeria, on through French Equatorial Africa, approaching Darfur Province through Abeshr. In the time of the Sultan Ali Dinar the pilgrims paid heavy tolls to him; their fairest daughters often were forcibly taken to adorn his harem, and their cattle impounded to pay imaginary taxes. The reoccupation of Darfur by the Anglo Egyptian Sudan Government therefore is of immense benefit to these pilgrims, as they now have the protection of either the French or British governments through out their route. Even so, there are many difficulties to be overcome. At various larger centers the little parties settle down, sometimes for months at a time, hewing wood and drawing water or cutting grass for the more indolent Arabs, thereby earning enough money to provide them with food for the journey to the next place. At El Obeid they rest a long time, labori ously earning enough money for the rail way fare to Khartum, and then proceed to Suakin or Port Sudan. Thence they are taken in Arab dhows to Jidda, the Red Sea port for Mecca on the Arabian coast.