Thursday, July 02, 2009
giraffe--the other white meat
Yellie and Krispin brought the Somali girls over for a swim and to work in the garden last night. I taught the girls how to hoe weeds, thin carrots and fill a watering can from a mud puddle.
They taught me about the epicurian delights of giraffe.
Halima, Ndfia and Habiba are only now beginning to talk about their experiences in Kakuma, the Kenyan refugee camp where their lives began. Recently they described for Danielle--in gruesome detail--how their family would capture, kill and slaughter a giraffe. All three girls grew animated as they recounted the process.
"There was a lot of blood!" exclaimed Habiba, the youngest.
"What did giraffe meat look like?" I asked the girls during dinner last night.
"Like meat," Halima answered matter-of-factly. "It was red."
"And how did it taste?" queried Danielle.
"Like giraffe," said Halima, starting to get annoyed by our questions.
(It probably tastes like chicken, which seems to be the meat default mode for American taste buds. But the whole giraffe-butchering scenario just seemed a tad barbaric to me).
Later that night, Halima asked me about our trip to Alaska.
"We go stay in a village with Native people who all know or are related to each other," I explained to her. "We eat moose and caribou and sometimes even bear that the people hunt and catch."
Halima showed both interest and surprise. "You eat moose? And bear? Are they red meat like giraffe?"
"Probably very similar," I told her, intrigued by the obvious parallels between the cultures. "Hey, you should go to Alaska with me some time, Halima. You would like it--except when it's cold!"
She beamed, then nodded and said, "I would like to go!", then ran off to round up her sisters, who were running amuck in my backyard.
They worked liked pros at the community garden until Habiba and Ndifa discovered tadpoles at the watering hole. Halima scolded them in their native tongue while she watered the beets and radishes.
It so reminded me of my three girls back in the day: Lindsay always the responsible child, disgusted with Yellie and Candyce who were always off chasing tadpoles and butterflies.
Even though we've never eaten giraffe, I sense our family has a lot more in common with the Somalis than we realize. And they have more in common with the Athabaskan children I love on each summer than they know.
How culturally cool is that?