Who Will Kill the Christmas Cow?

Here at Tumaini, the kids have three meals: Githeri (beans and maize), Rice and Beans, and Ugali (beans and a maize polenta). Githeri is eaten for every lunch and quite a few dinners, whereas rice and beans and ugali are served less frequently. Given this monotony, it’s easy to explain the mounting excitement that accompanies the approach to Christmas here. You see, on Christmas, the children have told us, “we will eat cow!” This is one of the two days per year where they are allowed to eat meat (and because of or in spite of this many profess meat to be their favorite meal).

In addition to the cow, incidentally, several of the rabbits kept here for breeding are purportedly going to be eaten. And, since the rabbits are named (of course) after us and others of the volunteers who have stayed at Tumaini, many of the children take great delight in telling us that on Christmas, “we will eat Michael and Emilee!” And then they laugh diabolically. (Jonathan the rabbit will not be eaten at Christmas; At first I was glad, but then they told me that he has already been “eaten by dogs,” because “he rotted and died.”)

Anyway, the three of us were sitting around last night, and wondered where they typically get the cow that they eat for Christmas. Then we realized they probably just kill one of the cows they keep on site. After discussing, agricultural newbs that we are, the horror involved in slaughtering an animal like that, and talking ignorantly about what method would be used, the question finally arose, Who will kill the Christmas cow?

It’s definitely going to be Edwin.

Edwin, after killing last year’s Christmas Cow

By Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan worked as a programmer in tech startups for several decades, but is also passionate about all kinds of creative pursuits and academic discussion. Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively, and is working on another in theology. An American-Canadian, he lives in Vancouver, BC and has way too many hobbies.

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