Tonight I participated in the killing of goat. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. There was a shortage of food, so we went to the goat pen late in the evening to pick out a plump one.
There was a lot of extra people over because my village mother’s brother died, and a lot family from other towns had come to attend the funeral.
It seemed like the goats knew what was coming, they made themselves very difficult to catch, even within the enclosed pen. There was a lot of struggle grabbing at different initially selected ones, until young Jimmy’s fate was finally sealed when he was caught firmly by the leg. He was hauled just a few meters away, screaming appropriately. Goats have frighteningly human sounding screams. Jimmy was one of the more recent goats who had been bought and introduced to the pen. Kept to himself mostly, never seemed to cause any trouble like some of the other young goats.
Anyway, the standard slaughtering technique around here is to cut open the animal’s neck to bleed it out . Doesn’t sound too bad, except if you don’t actually have a real knife. At first we tried an old bent and worn out blade without a handle. It’s usually used to cut cabbage. When that wasn’t working out too well, I rushed to offer the 3inch blade from my multi-tool, hoping it would be better. Wasn’t really any good either, not even the serrated part of the blade.
You can imagine at this point that Jimmy wasn’t getting more at ease with the process, neither was I. The increasing grimace on my face was a source of laughter for everyone, especially the crowd of 3-6 year olds who had gathered to watch. Finally the small paring knife that was bought last week proved sharp enough to finish the job. Jimmy had been screaming and thrashing all over as his neck was sawed open at a terribly slow pace in many separate attempts. It took 3 men to hold him down and keep him from kicking. I got blood on my clothes as Jimmy’s last gurgling breaths through his open neck spatted his blood all over. It was especially unpleasant how long his breathing lasted with half his neck sawed open, even with the stabbing at his exposed spine to try to finish him off faster.
Then we skinned and gutted him, fried him up, and we ate the same night. A bit chewy, but still tasty, even with the grimace still on my face, trying to get the sound of screams out of my mind.
Looking back, the most astonishing part was the picture of my young neighbour in really nice blue Fila boat shoes, well fitting collared shirt, and nice clean kaki shorts, sawing open a screaming goats neck. Without the goat, he looked like he could have been in magazine clothing add, strolling through town on a warm summer evening.
Sorry no pictures, didn’t seem right, plus no flash on my iPhone camera for night shots. Instead here’s a picture of a pig from a few days later: Same spot, same kids, better knife this time: