We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Friday, 17 August 2012

My Life as a Butcher

Sorry, it's another pig story! But I must tell it!

Today, after two days of grace, Lulu bravely faced her end. As Amisadai said, she was bonked on the head. And then she knew no more, nothing of the slit throat (I'll spare you the details) or the apprehensive butcher nervously trying to tie off the rectum or the two girls giggling at the wee squirting out of the bladder. The girls coped fine, and eased the pain of losing Lulu by roasting some previously rationed marshmallows on the fire that boiled the water. A little surreal roasting marshmallows by a beheaded pig, but we are getting accustomed to strange experiences.
Roasting marshmallows
We had Edge (Swahili-spelt phonetically, but pronounced Edgar) to do the dreaded deed and help with butchering, but I think he was used to the slaughtering more than the butchering. I had to work hard to convince him to hang Lulu in the tree by her back legs so the blood drained out and not the other way around. But that was nothing like the hard work actually getting her hung up there! Whew!
Finally hung and examining the innards

We managed to get all the vital organs out without disaster. Another biology lesson. And yes, we saved the bladder to blow up for a game of catch! Edge sawed the pig in half very ably. But then all my studies of the diagrams and photos of Greg butchering seemed to fly out the window, and I lost my way a little in the search for recognisably British joints. Trotters off. Legs off. That was fine, but then trying to pull back the ribs and find the chops all became a little trickier. As for cutting out the blade bone ... made a pig's ear of that. In the end, with Edge, it all got chopped up and put in pots and buckets. Dirty and bloodied, my work then began in the kitchen, and it took all day! So much pig and what to do with it! It is now all sorted into legs, a fairly acceptable rolled joint, and the rest chopped, sliced or minced. Then there is the liver and kidneys and lots of fat and bones. Well and truly butchered.

So at the end of the day, exhausted and just a little stressed, with hands stained red from blood (and purple from an incident with a purple dye yesterday which is another story altogether) and clothes filthy with blood and guts, all I wanted was to get the mess cleared up and have a shower. But to my total dismay, the water had gone off. The shower was not to be. I had to strain the ants out of the rain water bucket and use a jug.

So that is the end of my butchering day (which began far too early at 6am!). Tim manged to miss the whole event as he was in a village 90 miles away with Andrew and Andy ... but he was dutiably impressed with my efforts when he returned! I am gutted I didn't do a better job, but keen to have butchering lessons when we get to England ... as well as hair-dressing (as long as I don't confuse the two).
The first half (before it got messy!)


  1. It looks like a great job to me - especially for a first attempt! I think you're being a bit tough on yourself. Maybe not a silk purse, but definitely not a pig's ear.

  2. sounds like my day at Soul Survivor was a breeze then!! BRILLIANT, well done

  3. Wow! Looks like hard work but you got there! I think it's good that the girls get to see where their food comes from as well and can appreciate the circle of life - an important lesson that most miss out on these days.

  4. As I read your account of butchering Lulu, I was reminded of the day a neighbour came to kill our chickens, back when we lived on a little farm in Pitt Meadows. I took the children out for the day, though the deed probably took all of three minutes, as we had only 3 chickens! How much better it would have been had I had your wisdom and courage, and used the event as a life lesson. Your girls are experiencing such a rich life, Rachel, facing it head on. I applaud you!



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