(The) Holy Cow.

***Warning. I'd love to use the disclaimer "No animals were harmed or injured in this the making of this post"....but that's not gonna fly. There are a few pictures on this post that might be a bit disturbing. The zebu was killed in a humaine manner and every part of the zebu will be used by the local people****

This morning I woke up and went to the zebu sacrifice. It was only 8h30, but it was freaking hot outside!!

By 8h35 there was a group of about thirty or so, all of us whiteys, with our cameras strapped around our necks to see the sacrifice.

I'm not sure why, but the zebu had to be brought it from Muhumbo, about a two hours' drive (and it's not a pretty drive. The roads are really bumpy and rough). For some reason, they brought it back IN back of the Housing Manager's SUV. (I think he'll need his car detailed this weekend) and they tied it up outside of his office overnight. Apparently, the zebu didn't travel well (no one really does on that road) and he didn't look too perky. Maybe he was sick and the travel was actually hard on him, or maybe he just knew his fate and wasn't feeling all that perky about it.

Anyway, around 9h00 we saw the zebu being walked down the road.
I'm not sure why, but apparently the zebu had to be a castrated male.
They brought him over to be tied to a post. The post was in between two houses. I'm not sure why that are of the village was to be the sacrificial spot. But, I'm happy it wasn't next to my house.
They immediately tied him up and tied his front legs together and his back legs together. He was tired and didn't put up a fight.
The official spoke to the group. He wished the village residents to be healthy and prosperous and safe.
Then, they brought in Bonbon Anglais (the French version of Sprite - I think it tastes like bubble gum), Dzama (the local rum), what I think was Rum Orangé (a homemade alchohol with different fruit flavors), and water. The official instructed for the beverages to be placed on a mat beside the head of the zebu.
A firetruck along with a few firement had to attend in case the fire that they were using to cook the zebu got out of hand. Safety first, people!!!
And the ceremony began.
We were each given a glass and had our choice of the four drinks.
It was a LITTLE bit early in the morning for a drink...but I went for the Dzama. Y'all know me and my Dzama.
One of my options was this Rum Orangé. A couple of expats tried the drink, but.....with my Malagasy stomach....I thought I better pass.
The drinks were blessed. Or maybe offered to God? I'm not sure. I wish the ceremony would have been translated so that I could know what was going on.
Ron was a good ol' boy and didn't put up any fight. He made it a lot easier for us to watch.
Water was poured over him. He started to stir a bit after this. But then went back to being very calm.
The ceremony continued. The official waved his stick quite a few times around and spoke for about 20 minutes.
Then he called over his assistant to take off his shoes.
He continued his ceremony in sock feet. Again, I wish I knew what was going on. I'll ask some staff on Monday to see if they can tell me.
The blessed cups of water, Dzama, rum orangé, water, and Bonbon Anglais.
And then a few men were called in to.....take care of business.
They first slit his throat, and then stabbed his lungs. The killing was quick. He did not seem to suffer much. (Or that's what I'm telling myself).
Yes, that's cow blood, and yes, I'm taking pictures of it. Yes, this was one of those "surreal" moments. I'm on an island in Africa watching a cow being sacrificed. Rewind two years ago, and I wouldn't have been able to watch a fish being gutted.
I have even more graphic pictures, but I think they're a bit too gruesome for the blog.
As they started to cut off his feet and slaughter him, I had to leave. We had to get back to work and I didn't think I could stomach the actual disecting of him and all of his parts.
After we left, they cut him up into peices, then put the meat into a bit pot over an open fire and boil it until it's cooked. No 28 day beef grading for this bad boy.

I'm glad I went. My only dissapointment is that I didn't really know what was going on? I really wish I knew what was said and the beliefs and reasoning why the zebu had to be sacrificed. I guess that's my next research project.


  1. Wow! We can't believe you were there to witness the slaughter. Perhaps taking pictures helped you get past what was actually going on. God bless your heart for your courage. We think our little dove has learned to soar with the eagles. Love G@G xxoo

  2. trooloollololololololololololo

  3. haha you woman