Easter Holidays – Day 34

Posted on April 8, 2012


Yesterday most people decided to leave camp for the four-day public holiday to go and see their families during Easter. It’s a big holiday here and people stop work on Thursday afternoon and make long journeys back to the villages. I was going to be the only student left behind as the other Westerners went to Queen Elizabeth National Park. It didn’t worry me being alone, but Nancy insisted on staying with me which meant the boys Herbert and Ricky decided to stay as well.

Every Friday we do our weekly shop in Masindi. We’ve agreed that we’ll all chip in to buy a chicken for an Easter feast. I was going to do it the British way and buy a frozen one from Lucky Seven (the local supermarket) but the others said no, they wanted a live one.

“You want to come back with a live chicken in the back of the car? Where will we put it in camp and who is going to kill it and pluck it?” I said.

“We will.”

“This I have to see.” I replied.

Herbert has nominated himself for the job. They do things differently here in Uganda. There is no wringing of the neck. The slaughterer stands on the wings of the bird to stop it flying off, and then the comb on the top of the head is held tightly to keep the head steady. Then in one clean-cut, the throat is slashed. It’s done fast so that the bird does not suffer.

Sounds easy enough, but it bet it’s messy as hell. I’ve not seen anyone kill a chicken before so I’m not sure how I will feel when it comes to eating it. But out here, this is how people live, so when in Rome.

Then comes the task of plucking it. You can either throw the dead bird into boiling water. This softens the skin so that the feathers can be scrapped off easily. Or you rinse hot water over it and pluck it then and there, which is a bit more arduous, but means the bird tastes better.

I suggested barbecuing the bird but that may not work as the rain has not stopped today and it could be like this all weekend. It’s like being back in Britain, bank holiday weather (hahah!). We’ve opted to by a cockerel from the local village instead of Masindi. Mary the cook is staying at camp now, so she will make a stew out of it. The plan is to eat it on Easter Sunday for lunch.