Scratch another meat off the list!

Well, I've finally done it. After talking about it for years. After searching on multiple continents; I have finally eaten dog.

My old roomate Aaron (all my best friends have been named Aaron. That’s cus Aaron’s are always cool people) used to say he wanted to be the Noah of meat eaters. Meaning he wanted to eat two of every animal. Well Aaron, I have knocked another one off the list.
Since Saturday I have been in Kara. It’s weird to wander around this city knowing that it will be my home for the next two years. Two days ago I signed the lease for my house. It’s a nice little place. When you walk in there is a fairly large common room with three doors leading into two bedrooms and a bathroom. I can’t wait to move in! This will be my first house. What a weird feeling. I’m really growing up! Sadly the house only has an outdoor kitchen that I share with the 3 other dwellings in my compound. I plan on building a fairly large bar (5 - 7 seater) that will also serve as my kitchen. That will be an ongoing project for the first couple months of my service. I also want to have stairs built so I can get on my roof. The view will be AMAZING from up there. Sadly there is a wall that blocks it from the ground. But once I get onto the roof I will be able to see for miles and miles across beautiful African wilderness. I can’t wait!
Today I was introduced to the Prefet (head guy in the region) and mayor. It is very important to be on good terms with all local government. The Peace Corps recognizes this and makes a point of stressing the importance of introducing yourself as soon as you get to post. My host country counterpart made the introductions. What a cool experience being welcomed by these very important people!

My brother and I have been talking about eating dog for YEARS! During our entire trip through China we kept trying to find a place where we could eat dog, cat, snake and rat. Sadly we found none of the above. Luckily I got posted to a region of Togo that LOVES dog. After my last audience I mentioned to my guide that I wanted to eat dog and drink chook. He called one of his friends who would help me. After much searching (everyone loves dog SO much that after 5pm it is pretty much all gone) we found a chook stand and a man selling dog. Before I go on I must explain chook.

Chook is a locally made (and when I say local I am talking about in someones house) alcohol. It is made with millet. I’m not totally sure of its production past that point. But it is drunk all across Togo, with most of it originating in my region. One drinks it out of bowl type vessel called a "kalabash." Kalabashes come from a vegetable kind of like a pumpkin that grows on trees (imagine seeing green pumpkins hanging from a tree) that is cut in half and dried to make a bowl. One drinks chook at a chook stand. They are usually 3 or 4 benches around a 10 or so gallon bucket attended by a lady who along with serving it has probably made it in her house. One sits down with friends and orders a kalabash of chook. The lady then uses a slightly smaller kalabash and scoops out your allotted amount and hands you your chook. When I first drank it with my host father a couple weeks ago I was surprised at how much I liked it. It has a sweet taste, slightly bubbly, and overall not that bad. I’m not sure how much alcohol is in it. My guess is it is on the same strength level as beer. Not totally sure though, there are no labels on the side telling percentage. :)

Today we found a chook stand and started drinking. The Togolese friend I was drinking with left for a few minutes and came back with a man brandishing a cardboard box. He puts the cardboard box down in front of me. My friend sits down next to me and says in French, "Here’s the dog!" I look into the box to see 5 skewers with what looks to be meat on them. I have no clue how old the meat is, how long ago it was cooked, or what has happened to it since then. Regardless of all of these things I grab and start eating. I honestly can say that dog pretty much tastes like any other dark meat. It was fairly tender, well spiced.

I can’t believe that I will be living and working here for two years. So amazing! All of you reading this, come visit me and you too can eat dog! I can’t think of anything more appealing than that to make you come. :)

6 comments:

Gary said...

I WANT TO EAT DOG. AND CAT. I WANT TO WEAR A PAGNE. I WANT TO WATCH DANCING. I WANT TO DANCE WITH TOGOLESE WARRIORS. I WANT TO LISTEN TO THE WIND BLOW OVER THE AFRICAN VISTAS YOU DESCRIBE. I WANT TO DRINK CHOOK FROM A LADY (YOUNG? CUTE? OLD? GRANDMOTHERISH?) WHO PROBABLY MADE IT IN HER BASEMENT. I WANT TO SHOWER FROM A BUCKET. FOR JUST A MINUTE OR AN HOUR OR MAYBE A BIT MORE I WANT TO LEAVE MY PERSONNA AT THE CONSULATE AND FEEL AND HEAR AND TASTE AND EXPERIENCE THE AFRICA YOU PAINT FOR ME WITH YOUR WORDS.

LET'S SEE 2006 ARRIVE TOGETHER IN TOGO.

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