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Published: October 31st 2006
This was how cute he looked when they brought him to our apartment the day before the "festivities" - you can see why we wanted him far away so we did not grow attached!
Slaughtering goats and other fun party tricks in Kenya...
*WARNING - if you’re a vegetarian, have a weak stomach or an affinity for goats - please do not proceed
Each tribe in Kenya, from which I have met people, slaughter and roast goats for celebration. It is the responsibility of the men and each they learn how as part of their initiation into manhood.
As Shubha’s time in Kenya drew to a close our staff kept talking about how we were going to slaughter and roast a goat at her farewell party... Well they were serious. We were kind of excited about the forthcoming event but insisted they not bring the goat to spend the night before at our apartment, threatening that if they did we would prohibit them from killing it because we would surely grow attached to it by then….
Well, nevertheless, the afternoon before I am sitting at home reading and there is knock at door? Odd as I know hardly anyone here and was not expecting visitors… but it was Ketter and Job with a goat so they tied him to the fence at the side of our apartment. Well he remained for
1. Assume the position
Here they are securing, holding him still right before the deed...
about 1 hour before we insisted they take him to Francis’ house, where the slaughter was planned for the first thing the next morning.
Shubha and I drove over to Francis’ at about 9:00am the next day; the entire slaughter lasted only one hour from slitting the neck to skinning to disemboweling to cleaning the intestines and cutting into pieces. It was quite interesting in fact, learning all sorts of things about a goat’s anatomy - like for instance did you know they have four stomachs? The nastiest part of the whole process was emptying and cleaning the four stomachs as well as the intestines. The rest of the process was not too bad at all.
There were seven men working on the goat together, as each man was not from the same tribe they brought different perspectives and methods to the process. I’ve posted pictures from the start to the end so you can follow the entire process along, as the pictures are much more descriptive than my commentary could be.
Once the goat was in pieces in a yellow bucket we threw him in the back of the truck and drove back to our apartment.
2. Slit the neck
Here's a shot of the men slitting the neck to bleed him. They positioned the goat over some brush to absorb the blood... yumm...
When we arrived we realized there were two chickens, still alive, who were supposed to be part of the feast as well. Shubha received the honour of killing one but halfway through it’s neck the chicken to started to shriek freaking her out so she dropped him and one of the guys stepped in to finish the job.
As we were witnessed the slaughter, Florence, Jackie and Leabell were starting on the rest of the feast. They were cooking more food than you could imagine, as I walked into the kitchen there were kilos upon kilos upon kilos of carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, cilantro, sucha, sukuma-wiki, flour, rice, oil, maize flour and other traditional spices and secret ingredients. Below you’ll find a list of all the traditional Kenyan dishes we feasted on that afternoon… Sukuma-wiki
- dark green vegetable cut into very thin strips and cooked (or wilted) with onions, garlic and tomatoes Ugali
- maize (corn) meal cooked into a thick prridge and then shaped into squares and served, when eating is used to pick up other foods, it’s really very heavy Chapati
- thin flat bread comes from the Indian influence in Kenya Cachumburi
3. Leave not part of the neck attached
Not 100% sure on this step but my guess is we were just making sure he was dead and bled
made from tomatoes, onions and cilantro - it tastes exactly like pico de gallo Mutumbo
- intestines, usually cooked with onions, cilantro and tomatoes Pilau
- Coastal Kenya dishmade from mainly rise with carrots, pieces of meat and flavoured with a cinnamon and Indian spice mix Sucha
- green bitter vegetable, cooked for at least 30 minutes (to remove some of the bitterness) and served with a little cream - it’s called nightshade in the states
Other than the above we dined on roasted goat (nyama ya mbuzi
), chicken (kuku
), cabbage and carrot salad (essentially cole slaw which here is salad) and goat stew (karanga
) and boiled potatoes plus some chicken stew and some beef stew.
Well it was a long and full day, beginning with the goat at 9:00am and cooking until after 5:00pm, we all proceeded to stuff ourselves.
After everyone ate, Shubha gave a small speech, everyone exchanged gifts - she presented her staff with framed pictures of them all and they presented her with African fabric and outfits…
Goat is one of the most popular and common meats in East Africa, but I had avoided trying it until this day, and I
and then you start to skin him...
have to say it was not all that bad… but note I am running out to the market to make my own goat stew but I would eat it again if offered.
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