Apparently, roosters in Zambia have not been taught rooster etiquette. Or maybe it’s me that’s had the wrong idea all these years. Isn’t it true, on the idyllic farm that as the sun begins to brighten the sky, the roosters crow? Well, just so you know, that ain’t the way it is. In fact, without fail, there is at least one rooster (I think they have upwards of 10 here at the Village of Hope), who insists on letting me know it’s 2:30 a.m. Like clockwork.
My hosts insist my body is still on Maryland time, but I’m not buying it. I think this guy has it in for me. They are free ranging, these feathered patriarchs, and quite in charge. Occasionally a dog gets out and chases them around, but I have yet to see a canine outsmart the cockerel.
I’m also trying to figure out what all the Western frenzy is over free-ranging chickens. According to my local sources, chickens that have no restrictions are tough . . . that is the meat itself is tough and chewy. The folks here like that because all that chewing stems the appetite. Just the day before yesterday, I walked through the kitchen and Esther (the housekeeper), was plucking the feathers from a freshly beheaded biddy. I pretended like I see that every day. Later, I understood that Esther often grabs the chickens and does the dastardly deed herself, but this day, it was one of the boys. Yeah, one of those sweet Village boys, did the chopping. Sigh. I’m such a city girl.