Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Musungu Plots Against the Chief

In the bush, many nights were spent sitting on the porch of clinic, telling stories by candlelight.  Many were stories of black magic or poisonous snakes – and now, thanks to my colleagues, I am afraid to sleep at night because a witch doctor will choke me in my sleep or walk to fetch water, because surely there is the most deadly snake in the world waiting to bite my leg. 

However, one night, we were back to our other favorite topic – men.  Apparently, among the Bemba tribe, the men used to tell the women that they should not eat chicken.  I can’t remember the reason they told them, but the motive was their own greediness for more chicken (not surprising).  Many older Bemba women still do not eat chicken for this reason. 

While, this myth has generally been stifled, it is still a strong tradition that if a woman cooks a chicken and does not leave the gizzard for the man to eat, then “it is not a chicken at all”.  Not serving the gizzard to the man is a HUGE OFFENCE!  And the company that sold packaged chicken, without the gizzard, nearly went out of business.   Which brings us to talking about the Chief again – everyone was still very excited about meeting him.   (The day before it was discussed how the two bodyguards we met were also responsible for tasting the Chief’s food before he ate, to ensure he wasn’t poisoned).  In the talk about the importance of the gizzard, Delphine asks, “Do the guards get to try some of the gizzard?” Apparently not, we learn.  To which I reply, “I guess we know how to poison the Chief then”.  Again shocked faces dissipate into laughter.  Now musungu not only wants the mealie meal back, but she wants to poison the Chief while she is at it.  I decided it was time to get out of the bush before the word got out…   


  1. I read your blog with partial fear and pride. you are an amazing women with more courage and compassion than I will ever posess. I wish like you and the snakes that some of the stories I didn't hear, (bats,wading in croc infested waters and talking smack about the cheif!!!! I am so proud of you. Keep up the blogs.

  2. I love the humor in your adventures. Please write a book some day. I miss you madly.

    Lots of stories to tell myself, but no time at present. Big hugs to you.