Monday, November 24, 2008

gerbil couscous

Just got back from another two nights in the Sahara. This time was very, very, VERY different than all the other times I have been. Now, those of you who are vegetarian or squeamish may not want to read any further...

The reason being, is that this time, I went with five of my Bedouin
friends to the desert for their winter tradition of gerbil trapping and eating gerbil couscous....

Now, if you've read this far, please don't leave now, hear the rest.

Bedouins have been mostly poor and have lived as nomads in the desert for centuries. And living in the desert, to kill a sheep, goat or chicken has been a luxury that often they could not afford, needing the animals for currency and such. So the tradition evolved of trapping the numerous gerbils. A side benefit has been to keep the gerbil population in check.

Today, Bedouins are still often poor, and meat is a necessary part of their diet. So, the tradition has continued to this day - throughout the winter and spring, groups of Bedouins head out into the desert for a few days of feasting and resting. They barbecue them first, then put them into a stew for couscous.

Although I could never eat them, I still respect their lifestyle and any animal that is killed is done in a humane way (often unlike our 'modern' western meat

So, knowing what I was doing, I decided to go anyway, a bit nervous, because I am of the squeamish ilk (I always wanted to use that word!).

As well, I recently acquired a new family member, a baby gatuseh (kitten). Petunia is her name, and my friends told me that she is the first gatuseh to go out into the Sahara! I have included a couple of photos with her in it. Can you spot her following me in one of the photos? Don't forget you can 'double click' on the images to enlarge them.

So, I ate well (lamb or vegetarian couscous), rested and enjoyed the warm sun on my face, the soft dunes of the desert, danced and laughed a lot! The company couldn't have been better...

So, enjoy the photos, try not to judge these gentle kind people, and insh'allalh, you may learn something, like I am doing every day...
Love, Juanita

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Hey My Bella!
I loved your story. Very rich and compelling understanding of the Bedouin and their ancient lifeways.
Your acceptance of others is a model for others to look up to.

Love Petunia! She's snuggly and adorable! Where did you find her?

Scilly an adventure. I couldn't help gaze in wonderment at the lovely vaulted baroque ceilings and hear the theme to the GodFather playing in my head! xoxo Hope all is well.

Love you,