Today I killed my first chicken. My cousin and I went to market and bought one and then I carried it home (you hold it by the wings behind its back). I was instructed how to step on the feet with one foot and on the wings with the other foot, then use my left hand to hold its head and extend its neck. Then you just start sawing at the back of the neck. I have been told that the spinal cord it very close to the back of the neck so it dies very quickly—I am going to just believe that. There was a little bit of squawking at the beginning and even after its dead the body does a fair amount of twitching/trashing and my cousin had to help me hold the head. Thankfully this chicken closed its eyes when it died (or maybe they all do that, but that made it easier). Then we dumped it in hot water and plucked all of its feathers off. And yes people do look like plucked chickens when they have goosebumps. We also peeled the scaly skin off the feet and cut off the toenails because people fry and eat the chicken feet here. Then grandma opened it up and took out the guts and all of the stuff we don’t eat. I’m glad I got it over with, killing a chicken is kind of a rite of passage for Peace Corps Mozambique. But I don’t think I’ll be eating much chicken once I get to site.
After dinner I was talking to my cousin and she asked if I was born in 1987. I said no, I was born in 1986, when was she born? She said 1997. But she is 13 (and I am 23) and we are both born in august, so something wasn’t right…when I explained this, she thought for a second and said that no, she was born in 1996. I don’t know if this was because she doesn’t live with family to be mindful of her birthday, or if birth year isn’t as significant here.