Wednesday, December 23, 2009


We had to take pictures of this event to make my dad proud! You may have had pig experience Dad, but now, we have tried our hand at a cow... :)

Every December those of us living in Niamey are implicated in the preparation for SIM's spiritual life conference. It is a special time for our mission community to come together and worship, hear spiritual imput, fellowship together, laugh, cry, eat, and play together. We take advantage of the cooler weather and of school break to meet right after the new year. This means the weeks before Christmas are full of planning and preperations... moving furniture, cleaning houses, and this year, in an attempt to reduce our budget despite the soaring food prices, butchering!

This was a community effort for sure! Monday, one of our coworkers who lives about 45 minutes outside Niamey arranged for a cow from the market out there to be butchered for the price of the head, the skin and the hooves. He then brought the quarters in to town in the back of his truck. We were waiting in the Sahel dining hall kitchen with lots of dubious knives, several interested people, and very little experience! Here is Ian holding a piece as it is being weighed.Thankfully, a collegue from another mission was a butcher before coming to Niger. He was an emense help in guiding the rest of us amatuers. He could make that knife fly! That is speedy Roberto on the left.After the basic cutting the meat from the bones, we moved into meal preperation: bones went into enormous pots to make broth, meat was separated into quality for cubing (20 ki worth) and meat for grinding, and fat was trimmed and given to very happy canines. We attempted to do the actual grinding ourselves, but we didn't have a grinder that was sharp enough, so we had to give up on that. We did however, clean and cube 20 kilos of meat for conference sauce. We had a fun time together: lots of jokes and learning about animal anatomy! Here is Cindy finding the trechea... Ian very gleefully claimed the liver which he cooked quite expertly for our family last night. Much to my surprise, Tom and Kay both really enjoyed the liver and onions. Tom took four helpings! Unfortunatly, our total meal take was not quite enough for the meals we will share together at conference, so now we are looking into cow #2...

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