Thursday, April 21, 2016

Just another Thursday...

Well, not really. Our Thursday morning started out a bit more eventful than usual. At 7am a friend from the village brought a rooster to our house. Earlier in the week, I had agreed to buy the rooster on Thursday. (I should have specified the time of day, apparently.) This mother was wanting to send her son to school, but she didn't have enough money. Her solution was to sell a large rooster. I appreciated her trying to find a way to provide an education for her son and not just asking for a hand-out. So I agreed to buy the rooster even though I had no idea what we would do with it. Well I had some idea...

When she arrived with this rooster, our dog was very interested in it. I decided to put the rooster in a large wooden box outside our back door where we usually keep our trash can in order to keep the rooster safe. The box is used for our trash because dogs from the village often come at night and look for some dinner. We got tired of cleaning up our trash every morning. And inside, trash attracts ants. Hence the box.

Of course my children were very interested in this rooster, and one particularly curious child of mine opened the box. The rooster immediately made a break for it! He escaped from the box only to find that outside the box was our dog, Penny, ready to chase him! The rooster tried to run, but his feet had been tied. He tried to fly, but chickens aren't great at that. So the chase was on in our backyard, the children shouting chasing our dog who was barking and chasing our rooster, until the rooster tried to escape under the fence. There he got stuck. Penny didn't really want to kill and eat him, she just wanted to play and sniff. Once the bird was stuck, Penny slowed down to just watch and bark and sniff, and the children caught her. It was now about 7:15am. 

As I reached the fence I saw that the rooster had gotten his head and one wing outside the fence, but his body was too big to fit under. I couldn't pull him back because it would break the wing. I had to laugh as I began digging with my fingers under his plump little body to make room for him to pass under the fence. When I was finally able to pull him through, I was close to the pen for our dog, Penny. I thought that maybe that fence was high enough to contain the rooster for a time. 

The rooster just began walking around exploring his new settings, until the children released Penny. She was too interested in this new creature and kept moving around the outside of the pen, barking at the rooster. At this point, the rooster panicked. He didn't realize that he was safe inside since the dog was locked out and couldn't get to him. The expression "bird brain" comes to mind. So he kept trying to fly to escape. He flew into the fence several times until finally he landed on top of the fence. And then flew down into the yard where the dog was. Again the chase was on. 

The children and I were chasing the dog, who was chasing the chicken. But this time the rooster decided to run off into the village. (His feet had come untied during the fence extraction.) So there I was, at about 7:30am in the village, trying to explain to my neighbors in Luganda why we were all running around their property with the rooster squawking, the dog barking and the children shouting. (Thankfully, most Ugandans are early risers in order to get to work in the fields before the heat of the day.) We finally caught Penny, our dog. My kind neighbor assured me that they would catch the rooster and bring it back to us. We needed to get home and finish getting ready to go to school. 

When we came home from school for lunch, we found the rooster back in the box. We realized that we were not going to be able to keep the rooster around for long in its live state. So we decided that we would slaughter it that afternoon. Thankfully, one of the young men who works for us as a gardener also has experience slaughtering and cleaning chickens. David thought that it would be a good educational experience for our kids to help out. He believes that we should all see where our food comes from. No, he didn't grow up on a farm. 
We learned how you dunk the chicken in hot water after removing the head. This makes it much easier to remove the feathers. Don't worry, I won't include all the gory details. But the children did enjoy watching how the body and head kept moving for a little while even after they were separated. 

While it was definitely an interesting day of learning from the rooster, it was not the typical day for most American families in 2016. We enjoy our more rural lifestyle here. Many days I think about how I enjoy how simple life is here. We live and work in the same place, grow some of our food, and enjoy a generally slower paced life. Thursday did not feel very simple though. I'm thankful for a Saturday at home to recoup a bit from a fun, but a bit crazy, week! 

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