Who are the most rustic, pre-modern people you've ever met?

In a village located in the mountains of north east Haiti, 20 miles from the nearest town and the nearest paved road. There are traces of modernity - Motorcycles (dirt bikes) serve as taxis to take people 10 miles or so to the nearest cross roads where they can catch a bus to town, often 4-5 adults on one cycle. Cell phones are becoming more common, though the only electricity to charge them is from generators which are few and far between. People often walk an hour or more to charge their phone.

Mostly, though, people there live as rural people did in the US in the mid-1800’s. No running water, scraping a living from the soil (growing mostly fruit, sugar cane and corn), raising a few skinny, free range animals for milk, meat, and eggs. Houses are one room mud huts with a dirt floor, cooking is done outside in a fire pit. Washing - clothes, bodies and motorcycles - is done in the small river that flows through the village. It also serves as the drinking water source, digging wells is expensive often come up empty there. The nearest working well is at least 5 miles away.

The village layout is not what I had always imagined, the huts are spread out so that often you can not see the neighbor’s house. There is a gathering spot on the rutted dirt road where people trade fruit, corn and livestock. A couple of times a week an old truck stops to buy excess fruit, corn and sugar cane to take to the town market, pretty much the only source of currency. Since sugar cane is ubiquitous, rum distilling is popular but primitive - much like moonshining in the states. The nights are very dark, especially when it is cloudy. When it is clear there is a blanket of stars in the sky.

The people are some of the nicest, most hospitable that I have ever met. even though they have very little, one cannot walk through the forest without being offered mango, pineapple or sugar cane. Many of them have never been farther than a day or two walk from where they were born. Port-Au-Prince is less than 100 miles away (about 6 hours by bus because of the horrible roads) but it may as well be on another continent. Precious few villagers have ever been there. Shoes are rarely worn, the feet of the locals are thick with callouses. They routinely walk on thorny, rocky ground without ill effect. On the flip side, if they do get a wound on their foot there is a very high rate of infection.

TL/DR - no clean water, very little electricity, subsistence living, great people and astounding natural beauty. I can’t wait to go back. People and nature trump modern amenities for me.

Seems you should lead with that. Hell, you should start every conversation with “Hi, I’m Colibri, pleased to meet you, I net hunted with pygmies.”

I flew out of SFO once and back again. On one leg there was a group saffron-robed Buddhist monks. On the other there were a family of Mennonites, or something similar (Amish-style clothing but colorful).

The Hollywood version of Amish is only the strictest groups. Many have phones, just not in their home, or use cars but don’t own them. Like any other religious or cultural group, you can make attempts to obey religious laws but skip the worst part through technicalities (Jewish neighborhoods that have elevators that stop on every floor or ovens that are always on).

Man how outdated. Now I’m going to dial up someone on my phone. I’d better save this document by clicking the floppy disk icon, first!

My pre-modern experience happened in the same part of the world. Istanbul to Sile in 2005, Turkish hosts responded to my request to use the “next roadside washroom” by immediately pulling over and showing me towards the door of what appeared to be a mud walled house. I was wordlessly ushered in by the lady of the house to use a trough in the back area and departed with a wave. Very discordant to the rest of my Turkish experience which was that it was a very modern society.

I lived in a small town in southern Iowa in the 70’s. Our neighbor didn’t get running water until 1976. They raised 5 kids in a house with a hand pump, a tin bath, and a two-hole outhouse.

She lived in a modern country, and eventually had a gas kitchen and a television and a HiFi sound system… but one of my great-grandmothers learned to read and write because when she got her first job as a live-in housemaid, age 13, it was in a house where all servants had to be able to read and write.

Well, you say, but that’s a woman who grew up in a tiny hamlet in the mountains, at the end of the 19th century.

OK, yeah, but her family’s farm had several rooms, and they owned their own land, and she hadn’t been sent to school because why would a girl need schooling*. Half a century later, my brother’s mother in law was born in a one-room shack to a family whose only breadwinner was a day laborer; until the father died and they moved to the big city, she had never seen anything electrical, had shared a pile of straw with her sisters (the only bed was reserved for the parents and the one boy-child), and learned to read and write…
because when she got her first job as a live-in housemaid, age 13, it was in a house where all servants had to be able to read and write.

  • Contrast with a great-grandfather, born not too far from her as the crow flies but in a culturally different region, who was taught to read and write and do sums by his mother despite the father complaining that reading was “for people who wear skirts”.

I suppose your great-grandfather was never in the Gallant Forty Twa, eh? If my great-grandfather had tried that, they could have just pulled up his service record :slight_smile:

Tribes in South America living in the Jungle and tribes in Africa that never seen a white person or any race of people other than their own.

Now with lot people in world and people traveling more now days!!!:eek::eek: More people are making contact now than ever before with these people. They so primitive it is hard to understand for people coming from even countries like Jamaica, Russia or Cuba.