This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Down On The Farm - Zambia

This is brother Mukuka Besa, a Zambian farmer, on a smaller scale.
Here he is in one of his maize fields.  The old corn stalks will be traded as silage to a man with a tractor so this large field will be plowed, but not by hand.

I picked the government vet up this morning at 7:30 and drove him out to the farm so he could check on the goats that are supposed to go to Malawi.
They were anxious to get out of their corral and start grazing.

I was nervous about a burrow under a tree as I thought maybe a warthog could have spent the night, but it turns out one of the dogs had just had a litter of puppies.

The vet, Dr. Bowa, spread out his supplies and went right to work.

Each of the nineteen goats needed two doses of a deworming concoction squirted down their throats.  It was blue so they looked like they had been eating Smurfs.  Then a couple of patches of fur was removed for a TB test.  Two vials of blood were drawn and a couple of shots were given.  It took quite a while to take care of all the goats.

The last thing each goat needed was to be dipped for ticks and whatever was riding on them.

This is "Billy".   I think of him as my goat as my name is on the bill of sale.  He was pretty indignant at the whole process and complained loudly with his blue tongue.

While all this was going on, Sister Besa and her younger sister started a fire and put on a five gallon can of water to heat.
Next they went to the chicken house and retrieved 100 chickens, but not all at once.
They made quick work of slitting their throats with a sharp knife and then let them bleed out.

Two by two they were scalded until ready to pluck, then two more were put in the pot.

Most of the plucking of feathers was done right there.  The feathers ended up in the fire and the chickens in a tub or a pile to finish plucking.

Two big tubs were eventually filled

Then the gutting started.  The heads were left on.  The best parts were separated for cleaning but everything was eventually cleaned to be eaten later.

Once the final cleaning was done in the tubs they were ready to be sold.  
They had an order for 100 chickens for the next morning and another 100 would need to be processed the next day.  Then it would be a few weeks before another batch would be big enough for market.
At wholesale price, Bro. Besa gets about 30 kwacha per chicken or about $ 4.15 USD each.

When you are on a farm and not in a supermarket, you are reminded of the realities of survival.
So much is dependent on sun and rain and life and death for our own survival.
Zambians are not as removed from this as most of us in the USA are.  I think the biggest change came with the end of World War II when the last of the USA population shifted from a mostly agrarian life to more of a cosmopolitan consumer.

The reality is in the photo below.

If you want to eat then you are dependent on sun and water, and if a meat eater, something needs to be sacrificed.

I will enjoy chewing on some of this philosophy with my friends when I return but first I am going to drive through an IN-N-OUT burger joint!