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Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Lamb (and Goat, too!)

Charlie writes,

During a recent trip north, Mary Kay was presented with two animals by the chief in Sekote. A partner church in the USA had sent funds to construct a new secondary vocational school there, and he wanted to express his appreciation for the gift. To reject the animals or even offer them to hungry local people would not have been honourable. So she arranged for the animals to be parked at the local pastor's place, and then ferried back to Accra on the deadhead return of a Pure Home Water supply run. For those of you who did not grow up around animals (like me), you can tell the sheep from the goats by which way the tails stand (tails up, like the white goat to the left, tails down, like the brown sheep on the right). Since she was up in Tamale when the cute animals arrived at the house, she texted me to deal with the situation.

Mary Kay suggested I just take the animals to the local butcher, which in retrospect would have been best, but our day security man said he knew a local butcher who did housecalls. So on Wednesday, he came over with the torch and the two of them butchered the sheep and the goat for us. After slitting the throats, the next step is to burn the fur off. In the north, they would just throw the carcass into the fire, but here in Accra, you use a flame thrower that hooks into the LP gas tank we use for the stove. The smell is quite strong, but it is much easier and faster than trying to shave the fur off.

The heat doesn't help the smell of slaughtering - I can see why they waited until winter to butcher hogs on "Little House on the Prairie". Fortunately we did not have to smear the blood on our door jamb and lintel as we are already covered in the blood of the Lamb! Thank goodness we don't have to practice ritual animal sacrifice anymore!

Then, the hide is washed with Key soap and water. The results are then cut with a sharp knife into various pieces, including ribs, legs, and neck. I washed the pieces a second time in the sink, then sealed them in ziplock bags before loading them in the deep freeze.

Should have double-bagged, as more blood leaked out of some of the bags, and Mary Kay and I had to spend an hour emptying the deep freeze and washing all the other bags which had frozen blood over them, tossing food which had been spoiled by contamination by the blood. Also had to defrost and chlorox the deep freeze. Then, the electric phase powering the deep freeze went out, so we had to crank the generator to get the meat frozen.

Not sure what we will do with the meat, which all still has hide attached, but that will be an adventure after Easter. We'll be sharing a treasured ham, brought from the US and NOT butchered by us, with Michael and Darrell when they spend Easter evening with us before traveling on to Kumasi for their missionary mobilization conference. Have a blessed Easter!