My Visit With The Uncontacted Sentinelese Tribe Of The Andaman Islands And The Life Lessons We Taught Each Other
By: Chip Wilmingshire
ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA—When I was given the assignment to visit the Sentinelese tribe that previously had no contact with modern society, I wasn’t so sure it was a great idea. When my boss said my job depended on it, I realized this story would change the world and must be obtained at any cost. Known for showing hostility to any outsiders who dare come ashore, the Sentinelese were a tough nut to crack. Once they decided not to kill me, they introduced me to the abundance that mother earth provides, the importance of family, the strength of community and I introduced them to technology and the deadly Covid-19 virus.
I entered the island on a small boat under the cover of darkness. Braving the choppy waters lit only by a crescent moon, I reached the shore and was met by the sharp end of 5 spears, each held by an angry looking man who spoke loudly in a language I didn’t understand. To get a better look at them I turned on my iPhone’s flashlight and they became very frightened. This piqued their interest and once I showed them Twitter and Pornhub, we became quite friendly with one another.
The tribe’s leader was a woman by the name of Ba-Cha. They hadn’t read a single book on feminist theory, yet here they were living in a matriarchal society. The girl boss Ba-Cha was able to illustrate in the sand and use a series of hand gestures to communicate with me. She taught me that above all else the earth is the great provider and must be loved and respected. There is a symbiotic relationship between the people and their environment that allows them to flourish. The life force that flows through all living things is connected in a spirit realm and binds us all. I explained as best as I could that one of the crew members of the boat I came in on had tested positive for a deadly coronavirus called Covid-19. I explained the concept of germs and viruses and told them we may want to begin fashioning bamboo and reeds into makeshift ventilators.
The tribe was untainted by the decadence of western civilization. When I showed them internet porn and introduced them to the concept of masturbation, I was worried that it may affect their already small population size. The men of the tribe began covering all of their weapons and tools in a layer of their own semen—semen that could have turned into babies, but was now being used to mark territory and bring luck in battle with outsiders.
I showed them social media. Adabo, the tribe’s eldest warrior and greatest hunter, played on my phone for no more than 20 minutes before finding his way to an alt-right message board and being radicalized. He explained that if he had been in D.C. that day, every senator’s head would be on a spear for all of the world and war gods to see. He was also pretty shocked to find Florence Pugh was dating Zach Braff and that Scrubs lasted 9 whole seasons. The idea of a hospital perplexed him, the idea of people watching people pretend to run one was infuriating, and the idea that they did this longer than some of his own children lived made him so angry that he almost killed me with his bare hands. Once I explained that he likely needed to visit a hospital after his encounter with myself and Covid-19 he chased me around the island for a couple hours. I’ll never forget Adabo and something tells me he’ll never forget me, the only white person he has ever seen who also had a magic porn box in his pocket.
I would return to America with a newfound appreciation for life and renewed mind and spirit. I had left them with a coronavirus that ripped through their population with almost no immune system or access to modern medicine, but also some knowledge of pop culture and western values. It was a cultural exchange unlike any either of us had heretofore experienced and, assuming they don’t get access to a vaccine soon, unlike any they ever would again.