Sunday, May 8, 2011

Goat Party

In celebration of the end of my research, I decided to have a small party in Efotse for the people who I've come to know during my time at TNP. The guest list included: Lanto, Bakira, Francia, Fiti, Stephan, Olivier, Lauren, Francisco, Henu, Jacky, driver of Jacky, and some of the other MNP dudes whose names escape me right now. Francia and Stephan were in Toliara and didn't make it back in time, so we invited the village "presidents" instead. I figured dinner and beer would be a good way to celebrate. Gino was available and willing to host us. Francisco kindly helped organize. People seemed to like goat, so I asked for goat and rice, and Gino (Gino owns the only venue in town) said he could also get fish and potatoes. I don't really like to have something different than everyone else, but fresh fish and chips were simply too tempting to pass up. Francisco said no to rice, which I thought was quite odd given that "rice is life" and people eat unbelievable portions (like 10 cups!) with every meal. He said that people could go home to have rice if they wanted it. Ok. So the menu was goat, fish, chips, and beer. Ok.
Efotse- the cutie in the front is Valentine

In the time between planning the Goat Party and the actual Goat Party, I was told many times how big and strong the doomed goat was. I guess that is a good thing. You can buy a goat for 12000Ar ($6) but my goat cost 45000Ar ($22.50), so it must be huge! I have no idea why such a monstrous goat was necessary, given that 15 people were invited and two of them (Meghan and I) don't eat goat. Also, quite a hype got going surrounding the party. Gino was taking a trip to Toliara and was going to get the parts to fix his a) generator and b) refrigerator. That, my friends, means we would not only get music playing, but -hold the line- COLD beer. F*&! me!

Chez Gino

Upon arrival at the Goat Party, we sat very awkwardly at Gino's waiting for everyone to arrive. I don't know why it was so awkward- probably because I was there. Sadly, Gino didn't make it back from Toliara and thus we had no electricity, cold beer, or potatoes. Also, there was a problem with the fish. People from Toliara south were dropping dead from some type of toxin (or poison) in the fish they were eating and there was a government imposed ban on fishing. Yipes. No problem- we still had beer and goat!

Chez Gino's kitchen

Jacky, always the politician, made a speech about why we were having a goat party and the future of research at TNP. He then sprung a speech on me. Luckily, I didn't pull a "Salama" like I did in '08. I just said thanks to everyone and that I would be back. After that we commenced drinking and Jacky got some music playing, via the car stereo. Next, the goat was brought out- cooked and in one piece. Meghan and I were served a chicken. One goat and one chicken for 15 people. Crazy. It was fine though- everyone could take meat home and knew that it would not go to waste.

The goat was placed on a side table and the hacking began. There are never any proper utensils but someone had a machete type knife, which did the trick. The goat was essentially quartered and then placed on the table for everyone to pick at. It was charred on the outside, but practically raw in the middle. However, once the outside layer was eaten, the limb or piece would be chucked back on the fire for a few minutes and then that part
would be eaten. I learned that this goat was not "food." When you want to have a few cocktails, you don't want to fill up to much. So instead of eating dinner with beer, you have goat, which is just a snack. Hence why there is no rice involved. Yet, get this, the whole goat was GONE in about 30 minutes. Can you even imagine? I still can't believe it. Good thing it was only a snack.

Some goat hacking

A goat limb and a beer

After the goat, the chicken dancing began. Men in southern Madagascar have this particular way of dancing that looks very much like a chicken scratching up the ground. Francisco was especially keen on dancing and wanted me to take his photo and/or video several times. Jacky, Fiti and one of the MNP dudes were also dancing chicken-style and I was laughing my ass off. Olivier, who I think started on the toka gash early, was super annoying and kept telling me how sorry he was for everything from my leaving to his being alive. Finally, I got suckered into doing some chicken dancing myself. OMG, right? It was fun though- you just follow whomever is in front of you, stick out your but, shrug your shoulders, and go around in a circle shuffling your feet.

The night progressed. The village presidents had to leave to watch a movie on STDs. Huh. I sat on a cactus paddle while trying to go pee and had to get Meghan to pull the hairs/thorns off of my butt. Then, quite suddenly at around 8pm the guys started to get really drunk. Stupid annoying drunk- so off I went! The perfect exit and a good end to my village life.

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