Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Am a Terrible Roomate....

For those who participated in the latest quiz, my roommate is in fact a “nkhuku” or chicken. The Chichewa word for eggs is maizera and, through playing with the word and my odd sense of creativity, I named her Macy.

I write about this now with a heavy heart. It was entirely unintentional but it came to pass that I ate my roommate.

When I returned to Chikandwe, my home village near the office, I was concerned to not find Macy in my room anymore. Both her and her nest had been removed; I assumed the worst.

I asked my family if they had, in fact, eaten her but they assured me she was alive and well. Then, the next day, I spotted Macy trying to enter my room when I left the door open to brush my teeth. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Yesterday, we had chicken for lunch. Sure, the connection seems obvious now, but I didn’t think to ask of the bird’s origin until halfway through a drumstick.

-“So, did you buy this chicken or raise it yourself?” I asked.

-“We raised it,” my host father, Bauleni, replied. “This is the chicken that used to stay with you.”

The thigh bone I was suckling on almost fell out of my mouth.

-“Mnzanga!” (my companion!) I exclaimed.

-"Haha, yes," Bauleni replied. "You are eating your friend!"

Lunch, though delicious, was difficult for me to finish. I have no illusions about why chickens are raised here but I still feel terrible. I thought that because she consistently laid eggs she would be safe. Apparently not.

She was a great roommate in so many ways. She didn’t make much of a mess, didn’t throw wild parties that kept me up all hours of the night, never complained, and even provided a delicious meal when she moved out. I only wish I could have reciprocated a little more positively.

Macy, I’ll miss you.

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