A new year, a new day and it was raining this morning. We needed to be up and headed out to the ghetto for the yearly feeding at 6am this morning, but there was a torrential down pour. Unlike the states, when it rains severely in Africa it limits activity and therefore causes huge inconveniences. So, we had to wait it out. Two hours later it changed to a drizzle and we set out on the now muddy roads to begin what would an incredibly life altering day.
We dropped Cliff and Kato, two KIK employees, at the meat market, first and then drove to Banda where Lillian, head of KIK's women's group, was waiting to start the preparations for the cooking.
Lauren, our visiting videographer, and Filda an adopted street girl, got out to start preparing and filming the events while Tomi, KIK's Director and I, went to pick up the Venezuelan volunteers from Christmas.
The rice was being sorted through by the women for pieces of grass and small pebbles, but unfortunately, there were no cows for sale at the market. Instead we bought 250 kilos (over 550 lbs) of meat that was already slaughtered and cut in quarters. When Cliff and Kato arrived with the truck carrying the meat and they began to unload it I was amazed at how much flesh and bone was going to have to be cut into small pieces for the kids to eat. I had never seen that much meat all at once before and it was odd to see that meat actually moves like a water bed (which makes it difficult to cut with dull knives).
|550lbs of meat|
To top it off I was covered in bits of bone, fat and meat that splattered while hacking everything apart. It wasn't so bad until we got to the leg bones. These were large, smooth and very hard. When you crack them open with an axe and then hold the pieces to cut into smaller pieces the marrow gets everywhere. Raw marrow is yellow, gritty, a bit bloody, and slimy. All in all...gross. I looked down at one point to realize my hands were covered in it! I tried not to gag as I wiped them on the softer pieces of meat as we were going along.
In Uganda they cook every piece, from the meat, to the fat, to the bones and even the tendons and I was splattered in it all. The clean up process was tough with minimal water and all kinds of who-knows-what under my nails, but it was a job well done.
By the time we finished cutting the meat, face painting had already taken place, a DJ had come and was blasting Ugandan music and the kids had multiplied astronomically. I took off my over-shirt, which was covered in cow guts as it was also getting hot. I also wrapped my hair in a scarf to keep it back during the feeding.
We started lining the kids up in two rows (kind of) and armed ourselves with permanent markers to mark the hands of the kids who had been fed and keep count.
Once the kids were served they sat in the grass eating their meat and rice with their hands, laughing and chatting.
Because of the rain not as many people came as we thought but several thousand people, mostly children, were fed an entire meal and left with full bellies. The rest of the late evening was spent visiting with the kids who had came and cleaning the cooking pots, and borrowed bowls.