20 April 2011

The pig.

Yesterday when I was taking pictures of my neighbor's tree, she stopped me and asked to photograph her, too, and then she invited me to watch them "cut" the pig. I asked her if she participated in it and she said no: they invited the neighbors to come do it for them. Unfortunately this couple is known around the village as being the drunks and as much as I try to ignore "village speak", they weren't doing anything contrary to the rumor. So I think it was better that they sat and watched.

Now, before you go any further... if you are a vegetarian because you are against the killing of animals, please DON'T GO ANY FURTHER IN THIS POST. Also, if you have a weak stomach, please DON'T GO ANY FURTHER IN THIS POST. I took over 700 images of the whole process but I did try to pull the least "gruesome" that would still tell the story. Just remember... this is life in the village.

With that being said, this was a very humane process. Now I can say that I have witnessed it but I think once is enough.

So, Easter is just around the corner (holy cow, err pig, time is going so fast) and that means it's time to get ready for all of the masas (parties) that will be held throughout the villages. We have all next week off of school because family comes in from all over and they go from house to house eating food, drinking wine and homemade vodka, and celebrating the fact that Christ has Risen. It is a HUGE ordeal here... and I'll be sure to post more about it as it happens. But for now the events consist of preparing the meat and cleaning around the house. Yesterday I watched the preparing of the meat.

It was... well... interesting (with all of this GRE studying I will be doing you are going to begin to see new words. This definitely isn't one of them). I have a huge love for animals (in fact, the doorbells I like to visit on my way to and from school both whined at me as I had been in my own world and was about to walk right past them) so needless to say I wasn't exactly looking forward to this. However, it was a weird thought because by the end of it I no longer felt like the pig was an animal... maybe because I was pretending that it wasn't.

The initial pulling of the pig out of the pen was a site to see. That pig had to have been really heavy and BOY was it strong! It also made a sound like I'd never heard before and could have easily popped the ear drums if you were close enough. The sound slowly faded, however, as the pig died from a couple of stabs straight to the heart. I had to look away during this and even got a bit emotional but I was happy when it was over.

(This is our neighbor who, like I said, was much better off just watching.)

This is her husband who too was much better off watching.

Now they are getting the torch ready.

Here they are putting the pig on the table (for the second time because it actually fell off at one point). Vasile is using the fire torch to burn the hair off of the skin.

This is Vasile- one of the men that did the dirty work. His son, Marin, also helped.

The geese went crazy after the blood that had spilled from the pig and the wash of the water. It was like they were savage animals that had never been fed before when in reality they had been fed but they're just animals. Go figure.

"Cate, Cate! This is the INEMA!" said Vasile. That means it's the heart. I've never seen a real heart so close in person before... and I was impressed. Even so, I don't think I can handle being a doctor. However, without ever having an anatomy class (I'm not sure how I got away with that in high school and college...??), I was impressed with ability to recognize organs as they were taken out of the body. At one point the men joked and said they were having an "open body operation". I thought it was pretty funny...

After an hour of so, my neighbor's granddaughter came over to help. As the men scraped the skin off the pig, she poured water on it to make it easier. ... and the rooster? That was one FIERCE little dude. Marin, the son, pointed the fire torch at him and he went closer to it as if to fight back. Well, not even as if. He was definitely fighting back!

All of the animals were gathering around to get a taste of some meat, fat, blood... whatever they could get their mouths on.

... and that is all. I have plenty more images but I thought it would be best to keep it PG. When I had ham this morning for breakfast I almost couldn't eat it... but then I remembered that it wasn't from that pig. But this is life and in my opinion we need meat to survive. Some people don't- and that's ok. At least by being in the village I know where the meat is coming from and that it was raised properly.... which is a good thought! I don't think I want a farm now, though. Maybe. But I don't think I could handle this. My host mom did tell me that when she first got married she wouldn't "cut" the animals either... and neither would my host dad. She would always have her mom do it or one of the neighbors. Then one day she needed meat (probably to make soup or something) and went out the gate and walked around and couldn't find anyone. So the toughened up and taught herself how to "cut" the animals. Now she does it all and doesn't think twice about it. She's such a go-getter!

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