Trigger warning – The following post details my voluntary participation in the slaughter of a chicken. Some of the details included may make some people uncomfortable. There are no pictures included in this post.
Today is July 1st, 2016. This day started like many others. A short walk to class. Greeting my teacher in sis-Swati. Eating some breakfast before the language lesson starts.
Today is different though. Today, we are doing a combined cooking and language lesson. We met with another class for this lesson. We are cooking traditional Swazi food with our teachers. A group of us walked to another homestead to get some chickens. Two to be exact. These were live chickens.
We carried them back to the class, where we slaughtered them. I volunteered to kill one of the chickens. One of the teachers held the chicken while I cut the chicken’s neck. At first, I thought that the knife wasn’t working. That’s when I saw the first blood spill of the chicken. I kept cutting as the chicken squirmed. Eventually, the head was separated from the body and blood poured from the neck as all of the life left the chicken’s body. I had killed my first chicken. I volunteered to hold the second chicken as one of the teachers cut its neck. He was very quick and efficient. I held it down as the last bit of life left its body.
Then, it was time to remove the feathers. This was done by hand after dipping the chicken in hot water. Removing the feathers revealed the chicken that I’m used to seeing at grocery stores. I believe that removing the feathers was a far more tedious process than the actual killing.
I appreciate being able to participate in the farm to table process. It’s a very humbling experience. The only downside is that now my pants have small speckles of chicken blood. A small price to pay for the experience.