Disclaimer: This article contains photos of a goat and sheep being slaughtered. They may be disturbing to anyone with a weak stomach/vegetarians/vegans/people who don’t like to know where they get their meat from. Rest assured it was conducted as humanely as possible.
As always, click on the pics for larger versions, if you really want.
Christmas Eve was the date for a planned party for the kids at the centre. They were allowed to invite a couple of friends/cousins/family members. Some of the children still have parents (or one parent), but it’s just not safe for them at home, due to a range of circumstances. There are two main traditions in a Kenyan christmas, before it became butchered by the Western influence of commercialism. New outfits for the day, and a good meal. The good meal to be eaten depends on the budget/wealth of the family. For some poor families, it means their ugali is able to be served with salt. At the centre, it meant choma. Barbeque. In anticipation, 2 goats were purchased a month prior. Unfortunately, the boy from the centre given the task of buying these goats, in all his excitement, bought a pregnant one. Now don’t stress, it’s not like we were going to eat a pregnant goat, or even a new mother. Apparently the right decision was to buy a sheep also, to accompany the first goat. There were fears the sheep was also pregnant, but it wasn’t. A week before Christmas, a selection of knives and machetes are chosen and taken into Ngong town to be sharpened, in preparation.
Christmas Eve eve rolls around, and I’m at a friend’s place closer to town, having a few drinks, knowing full well that the slaughter commences at 6:30am. Being Kenya, I assume 6:30 will be closer to 7:30. It’s generally a safe assumption to make. Rising at 5:30, for the 1 hour commute back to Ngong, and the walk to the childrens centre, I’m regretting my decision to drink and stay up last night. But I’m up, on the bus, then off the bus, and at the centre right at 7am, allowing myself 20 minutes to say good morning and prepare for the slaughter.
Unfortunately, this was the one day that the social workers, and the kids, actually make it on time to an agreed start time, and I’m greeted by the sight of the goat, hung in the tree by a rope through its hind quarters, with the skin half cut off its back. I’m still in shock at the mere fact that these guys were on schedule, and also in fear I missed the whole event. Luckily for me (What? I don’t shoot these things much.), the sheep was still to be ‘put down’, or executed, or sacrificed, or whatever the proper term would be.
It’s end was about as surprising as white on rice, albeit more graphic… As the pictures show. But to summarise the story in the photos: Sharp knife, blood, steam, the last pockets of air escaping the lungs, the gutting, the skinning, the preparation into segments. And of course, the curious young Kingston playing with the warm stomach and intestines.
Feeling the 2 hours of sleep, I walk home. Noone else is home, and my phone is flat. The only alternative being to walk ALL the way back to the centre, I jump the fence, and sleep on the trampoline til mid morning. But come lunchtime, the meat tastes great, and the kids love it.