|Me (left) and my roomate (right)|
(WARNING! IT'S GRAPHIC- photos at the bottom)
7:30am: Alarm goes off... but I get up after about 3 hits of my snooze button. Family is arriving at about 9 for breakfast. Breakfast includes myself, my program roomate, my host parents, brother and sister, cousins, aunts, grandparents; basically a lot of people.
9:30: We eat outside on the rooftop like balcony. The villa I live in is two floors, and there is a door in my room as well as the kitchen that leads to the outside area. For breakfast we ate this fried (AMAZING) dough called rief with cheese, jam, olives, and of course, tea! It is my favorite breakfast here.
10:00-11:00am: After breakfast was over and cleared, we started to cook a little. My roomate and I helped peel tomatoes to make this eggplant, tomato, red pepper spread that we eat with bread, and we diced carrots to put in a potato-tuna salad. After all that was done, the butcher and his helpers arrived!
11:15+: It's time! Our family bought three sheep that we kept in the downstairs open compound of the home. I had my phone out to record the process so I could send to my family back home in the U.S. We took the first sheep, and shielded the others with a sheet so they couldn't see the process. That's when it all began. There were about 5 men who came to the home, all of which held down the sheep while my host father said a very short prayer, took the knife, and slit the sheep's throat. I was about four feet away when the knife left the sheep's throat and it began to bleed out. Alas, it did not make it.
Once the sheep was fully "gone", the butcher decapitated the animal, skinned one of the legs, cut the bone a little so he could break it, and tied the achilles tendon to a rope hanging from the ceiling; this way the sheep was upside down. Boy was that tendon strong. It was holding this hundred and something pound sheep upside down, and it didn't even rip. After the sheep was hanging there, the butcher continued to skin the whole sheep with a knife. Once the animal had no skin, the butcher cut open the torso to get out all of the insides. The liver, lungs, small intestines, bladder, everything. The liver and edible organs were kept, but those that were not were discarded. The last intestine to be removed was the bowel. For this process, the butcher and his men poured water into the sheep's anus, blew into it, and we watched the water clean everything out. Basically, it was an enema but instead of coming back out of the anus, it came out a slit the men made in its bowel.
This was repeated two more times.
1:00pm: After all the sheep have been sacrificed and hanging from the ceiling, we cooked! The sheep "hang out" (no pun intended) for 24hrs, so for today, we eat the livers, They were cut into cubes, marinated, individually wrapped in the sheep's fat, put onto skewers and put onto a charcoal grill. This created so much smoke I felt like I was in a burning home. My eyes were red, red, and my roomate could't even stay it was that thick. There seemed to be about 50 skewers. We all sat down, ate the spread we made earlier that day with homemade fries, bread, and potato-tuna salad. I took the fat off of the cubes of liver (you can eat them with or without the fat) and ate it. UMMMM, it's not really for me. It was good, but had a particular taste that I could not eat in large sums. Nonetheless, I ate the bread (obvi) with the paste, olives and tea. One's essentials. After I ate half a skewer and my roomate ate a full one, we went to get away from the smoke and just sit down upstairs we were so full. After two hours of mingling, talking with family, sitting, we went back downstairs.... and people were still eating! Pravo to them, but I don't think I could take that much liver and food. I was so full I thought I was going to explode. After another hour or so, we cleaned up, changed into our pjs and are just hanging out :)
5:00pm: There are still so many skewers left, and I don't even know if we are going to eat dinner, that's how much food everybody has had. Nevertheless, after this exciting, culture filled day, I am happy to just be sitting in my bed writing this blog post.
Happy Eid Mubarak everyone!