Friday, July 22, 2005

Fishing for chicken

Three of the ways that Medy, my driver, used to catch wild chickens in the bush around his village:

- A kernel or two of maize, skewered with a needle, threaded with.. a thread. Let the chicken peck away at the bait maize on the ground until it pecks at the needled grain, and while it's choking on the needle, reel it in with the thread.

- Create this fairly complicated sounding trap involving maize as bait and fresh branches curved in such a way that when the chicken steps into the trap, a string is pulled, the branches fling the chicken into the air, and then the chicken is retrieved while it is lying dazed or unconscious on the ground.

- A plastic basin is propped up on a stick, and g-nuts (short for 'groundnuts' aka peanuts) are sprinkled beneath the basin. When chickens come to peck away at the gnuts, the stick propping up the basin is yanked away with the string it is attached to, trapping the chickens beneath it. (Personally, given that this requires less work and catches 3-5 chickens at a time, seems that this would be the easiest method.)

This came up because on the way to work, I commented that the guy who's usually standing on the corner holding two wild chickens aloft in his hands, wasn't there this morning. I felt happy to think that he'd finally sold them, and wondered how much a wild chicken from a man on a street corner would cost, and Medy basically didn't know because all his wild chicken consumption has come from catching them himself.

Urban chickens are one of my favourite things about Kampala. It's still funny to me when I'm walking past business suits, laptops and briefcases, and then a guy strolling along holding a couple chickens by their wings, as casually as if it was a plastic shopping bag. It's less funny when it's fish, because that's smelly.


At 5:44 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your writing is amazing....have you thought of making it a career!

Auntie Barbara

At 6:45 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't think about this entry without getting a picture of the man on the street as the Great Gonzo trying to sell poor Camilla and the other chicken harlots...

I once thought it would be a good idea to thread ducks bills to carry them. Then I thought about how pissed the duck would be.

Have you ever had to defeather a chicken, by the way???


At 10:23 a.m., Blogger Deanna said...

Good lord no Dilys, I'm a city girl and only want to deal with chicken after it's been deskinned, deboned, and shrink wrapped. Last year when I lived in Kansanga (another kampala neighbourhood) I had to go past a market on my way home, and I accidentally didn't divert my eyes quickly enough, and saw someone chop the head off of a live chicken. That was enough for me!

(Keep in mind, i'm the girl who stops eating meat when I encounter a vein or any other indication that I am eating something that was, at some point, alive.)

I love the gonzo/camilla parallel - that's hilarious!


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