DAY 3 | Off with his head!

On my third day I slept in until 9:00 am and when I finally got up and moving my Toto and Erina greeted me with breakfast and tea. When I finished eating I helped Erina wash the dishes. She was constantly asking me if I knew how to do simple tasks like washing dishes, but I always responded with “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” because I had no idea how different the Ugandan way of doing things is from what I’m used to. It was pretty much the same, but she insisted on demonstrating with every dish and just had me rinse. The only thing I learned was that Ugandan pots aren’t covered in Teflon. You’d think that would be obvious, but in order to get all the gunk off, you have to scrub all the saucepans and pots with sand.

I rested for a very short time, and then my Toto told me that I’d be going to the water source with Erina to bring water back. They gave me a teeny, tiny gerry can to carry on my head, which was a little offensive at first because I wanted to be truly Ugandan and balance a normal-sized one, but I was grateful on the walk back for my little milk carton-sized container because my arms were killing me!

When we got back to the compound we were pretty worn out, so we just sat and relaxed for a little bit. While I was sitting there, my Toto approached me and asked me if I’d ever held a baby before. I said no, so she promptly plopped baby Ephraim in my lap. I was a little intimidated to say the least. I mean babies are cute and everything, but as soon as they start to get a little fussy, I’m out. While I was entertaining Ephraim, Erina was on the phone with Dave’s brother Eric arranging another walk for the four of us. When we ate lunch shortly after, Erina made sure to tell me which parts I was eating. Lucky me. I found out I was eating the ribs, kidney and liver of a goat.

We left around 3 or 4 in the evening for our walk, but before we did, Toto had yet another task for me- slaughtering the chicken. I had already mentally prepared myself for it, because I’d heard of past students doing it and automatically assumed I’d be doing it also. My Toto picked out which chicken would be sacrificed for our dining pleasure, and then I was supposed to chase it around the compound until I had it trapped somewhere and could grab it. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do much chasing. I pretty much left that up to Erina and one of the neighbor guys that was always hanging around. Then when they trapped him up against one of the huts, I grabbed him. Once I had him in my hands my Toto laid him down on the ground and showed me how to step on his legs and pin him down. Then she showed me how to grab his neck, where to place my thumb, and told me to pluck out the feathers on his neck. I glanced at its face once, saw the pain in its eyes and decided not to do that again. Once his neck was bare, I started sawing away.

That’s right- there was no swift chop. I had to saw. When I hit his main vein, or throat or whatever it was, he started flapping his wings like crazy and I may or may not have let out a girlish squeal and stopped. Toto insisted I kept going, so I sawed as quickly as I could and as soon as the head was off and my feet were thoroughly splattered with chicken blood, I dropped the knife. I backed away and watched the headless chicken still flapping its wings. Weird.

Erina was waiting for me with lots of soap and water to wash my hands, arms and feet with, and when I came back from changing my blood-stained skirt, Toto had put the chicken in some hot water and had begun plucking out the feathers. It was a lot easier than I had anticipated and once I had finished helping her do that, I washed up again and Erina and I greeted Dave and Eric and then took off on a hike up the same hill that Margaret lived and the Church was on. Let me tell you- hiking in a skirt is not something I plan to do again. It got caught on everything!

When we returned home, dinner was almost ready. Yet again, I was told exactly which parts of the chicken I was eating. Since I was the guest of honor, and had done the slaughtering they blessed me with the most important part of the chicken- the gizzard. Yup, aside from chowing down on the thigh and liver, I ate the gizzard. Not as bad as I had prepared myself for, but not something I’m anticipating doing again in the future. After we washed up and Erina and I headed to our hut, I laid in bed while Erina told me traditional African children’s stories. They were interesting to say the least, and my favorite part was when I realized “The Hyena and the Chameleon” was the story of the tortoise and the hare with African animals.


  1. what is a gizzard????.......

  2. The Grinch: "Who wants the gizzard?"
    A Who: "I do."
    The Grinch: "Too late. That will be mine."
    ha ha ha!!!

  3. Oh and I cant believe ud never held a baby b4!!! crazy!!!