Love you all
This past weekend I experienced my first EID celebration. EID is a religious holiday for Muslims that was celebrate this past weekend. It also happened to be Mussa’s (one of roommates) birthday. To celebrate the two events Mussa came up with the idea to BBQ a goat. Jillian and I thought a BBQ would be a great idea but did not actually realize what we signed up for. At 8am on Saturday Mussa pulled up in his car with a live goat and a BBQ for us to roast the goat on. The goat was tethered in the backyard until our friends Adam, Swaleh and Hussien were ready to kill and skin it for eating. Being a person who already does not eat much meat, even though I knew this was what was going to happy it was a bit difficult to all take in.
For this big event Swaleh constructed a special knife to kill the goat with. He made this when visiting his family for us to use to kill the goat.. When it was time for the guys to kill the goat they went to the backyard, laid it in the grass and held it down. I thought I would be able to watch but soon as our very calm wonderful friend Adam picked up the knife to cut the goats throat I knew I needed to close my eyes. The boys killed the goat by slitting it’s throat and then they hung it on a metal pole we have in the backyard. As it bled out, they then proceeded to skin the goat, chop up the pieces, and then give it to Tony, another roommate of ours. It was Tony’s job to then prepare the meat and cook the goat. In Tanzania there are butchers you can get meat from but it is often not refrigerated and can have many flies all over it. As a result we do not eat much meat here. Many people here in Africa have killed and skinned all forms of animals that people eat for meat because it is the freshest way to get meat here. There is no grocery store with packages of meat with expiration dates to be bought so to them they thought it was hilarious that we were so squeamish at the thought of killing and skinning this animal.
After the killing of the goat it came time for the eating of the goat. The first course that Tony and the boys made was to cook up the kidneys, liver and heart. They chopped them up in small pieces and fried them in the frying pan, similar to how you would make taco meat. The items were then put on a plate for everyone to share. I tried one piece but I was still having a hard time from the slaughterhouse that happened in our backyard that I could not really eat much more. After that round the next course was intestine soup. After seeing all the intestines of an animal in a bucket on our porch this was something that I could not bring myself to eat. For the main meal Tony prepared a goat meat pilau that was amazing and kebabs of goat meat and vegetables that were delicious. We also had chipati, rice and veggie sauce, salad, watermelon, oranges, bananas, and a delicious chocolate cake for Mussa’s birthday. The food was amazing. About twenty people came over to help us eat it and celebrate and we had a great time.
In the morning Swaleh took the head of the animal and made goat soup. Another food that I was not interested in trying but it was interesting to watch. The guys in our house enjoyed that for lunch while Jill and I ate some of our granola bars and trail mix sent by my parents.
All in all watching my good friend Adam skinning a goat, my roommate Swaleh chopping up the pieces of the goat, my roommate Tony separating the meat for cooking, and then the goat head sitting on our counter will definitely be an experience I will never forget. As gross as the whole thing sounds to those living at home, it was a pretty special day here for us. A day where we remembered we live in a 3rd world country where crazy things like this are normal and a day we spent with friends who are like our family away from home.
This week I read a blog entry from a friend who stated, “Every day you might find yourself in strange and random places of your own. When it happens, I hope you'll pause for a moment and think about how unusual it all is, and how beautiful it can be if you remember to appreciate it.” There could be no truer words for our experience this weekend.
I hope you are all doing well at home. Next time you are in the meat isle in the grocery store think of us here in Africa and how the Styrofoam containers and plastic wrap covering your meat isn’t always available. Some times you need a specially made knife, three strong guys, a machete and a large BBQ to have a dinner with meat in it.
Love you all
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