Thursday, November 16, 2006

Conversation with Theogene the butcher

I met Theogene through a mutual friend and last week we got chatting about his work. At first Theogene was bemused and amused that I was interested, but I learned a bit about the meat trade in Rwanda.

I – “Do you have a butcher’s shop?
T – “I kill the animals, then people from the Congo take the meat and sell it in Bukavu”
I – “In English, we would call that a slaughterhouse”
T – “We do not have a house, we just kill the animals outside”
I – “And when it rains?”
T – “My job is very difficult then. I have to take the animals inside the house” (!!!)
I – “”So you cut the throat of the animals?”
T – “Yes, of course”
I – “ And what about the blood?
T – “It falls on the ground”

I explain the Scottish idea of black pudding, made mostly from blood. Theogene is very surprised. “In Rwanda only dogs eat blood”.

I – “So how did you become a butcher?”
T – “I needed to make money and some people near where I live were butchers”
I – “Did someone teach you how to do it?”
T – “No, I just watched others”
I – “But someone must have taught you how to kill an animal!?”
T - "No"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


That was quite a conversation. And then you all fell about laughing when I wondered whether they had any refridgerated lorries to carry the meat over the border! "No just a few willing ladies to carry the meat on their backs." Tis amazing how the relatively 'modern' can live cheek-by-jowl with some very old 'traditional' practices.

However the highlight of that evening for me was the fact that one of the guys could speak Amharic. Another reminder of how recent the genocide events were as he had learned it from an Ethiopian continent posted by the UN to Kamembe in 1996-97.

Keep up the good work... and say "hello" to the lads and Tristan (but hold the orders for banana beer!)