Dancing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dancers, Musicians and Celebrations     Celebrations and ceremonies took place throughout the stay in Kamina.  We were treated like royalty.  There were cultural dancers, choirs in colors outfits, huge drums from carved out logs, and audience participation (whether you wanted to participate or not!)  And, when two wedding anniversaries were celebrated among the group in Africa, the age old question, "What do you do with a chicken?" was answered.  The first celebrated couple received a chicken.  And, the little critter was served up on a platter later that same day.  I don't know who did the dirty work or fried it up in a pan.  I just saw the bird stuffed in a bag and taken away from the celebration.

The second couple to celebrate an anniversary got an honor bigger than a chicken, and that was the biggest honor I'd ever heard of in Africa.  They were given a goat.  Now, after the chicken, I didn't have to wonder what happened to a goat.  But, Lil' Gene was with us for several days behind the guest house.  And, in my mind, as soon as you give an animal a name, it is a pet.  I don't eat pets.  I ate the nameless chicken.  I had no intention of eating Lil' Gene.

I didn't even say NEVER.  I know better than to say that, but my mind was made up.  And, so much for any good intentions or best laid plans.

Which kind of honor would you eat?  Chicken in a bag or Lil' Gene in a pot?

You know what happened, but here's the rest of the story.

There was a large celebration towards the end of the stay in Kamina.  Two other nameless goats joined up for the event that none of the three wanted to celebrate.  Some people took photos.  Some people had to witness in awe.  It was right outside my window as I worked on the mural, and I tried to ignore the cries, blood, and mess.

Any time there is a feast, it is a big day for the orphans and the rest of the Congolese.  I know how I feel about Thanksgiving.  My new friends enjoyed the day just as much.  The order of the meal was orphans first, Congolese second, and visitors from the USA (with a slightly modified menu) last.  I was fine with that.  I still wanted nothing to do with Lil' Gene so there was no hurry.

My orphan muralists thought otherwise.  On three different occasions, one of them called me over and offered me a piece of goat meat.  The last thing I ever wanted was to take food out of the mouths of orphans.  But, these three boys wanted to share with me on a very special day.  There was no way I could say no to their generosity.  I was very touched.

Sorry about that, Lil' Gene.

Okay, there are other options. You can always fry up dried fish with palm oil.