The guinea fowl story

Helmeted Guinea Fowl

Helmeted Guinea Fowl

Yesterday I had a terrific day. It was different than the usually boring once that I normally have. I and a colleague happen to visit this lady who sells guinea fowls. Once there, we saw plenty of them in her back yard. We looked at each other and instantly knew our menu for lunch! We were offered a special price of US$14 (aprox Rs. 950) for one of them. Special because we were expats; it’s normally half the price for locals. Since we hadn’t enough time to ask a local to fetch one for us, we just bought it ourselves. By the way, I work in Tanzania, Africa.

It was fascinating to see the way our guinea fowl was caught. There were about twenty five to thirty guinea fowls in her yard. The lady summoned all of them to their chicken house (guinea house?!), with a nice bird-call sound. Amongst them was this vigilant white rooster which doubted her call this time. He grew suspicious and did not fall for her intrigue. He took the lead in inspecting the situation by lurking around the entrance of this chicken-house while warning his friends with a harsh toned foul cry. His fellow mates submit to his leadership and form a pack behind him. The tough-guy was in charge now.

This went on for a while. We were captivated with what was going on. Being mere spectators we eagerly waited to see what happens next.

The tough inspector refused to let himself or his friends in. It was when the rooster started acting like a ‘headless chicken’ the helmeted guinea fowls ignored him and barged into the chicken-house where the lady waited for a catch!

Once they were in the lady closed the door from inside. All we could hear was the lady screaming and wings fluttering. Sounded more like a rape scene in a Bollywood movie! Here, for a change, the lady emerged victorious. She came out with her trophy and with that our day-dream was about to come true.

In the midst of it all, I had an announcement to make. I wanted our guinea fowl to be slaughtered the Islamic way. My colleague and the lady, both of whom were Christians, had no hesitations to that at all. I could see them staring at me questioningly about who might do it. I had the answer ready; it is me, myself. A quick flash back gave me enough courage and all the information I needed to do so.

During my younger years slaughtering a chicken was a great event in our house. Papa would sharpen his favorite knife reserved only for these special, rather seldom occasions, (We normally bought nicely chopped chicken from butchery) wear his apron and put on the religious skull cap. I took pride in holding the chicken for him which was then religiously slaughtered.

Like so, I slaughtered the guinea fowl the Islamic way. We happily paid her the money and carefully placed our main lunch-ingredient in our pick-up truck before driving away.


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