Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gilssia in autumn

This is an excerpt from a recent writing. As difficult as it is sometimes, I cannot imagine ever living in a place again that does not include glancing up to see goats skipping giddily down the road. A place where 'normal' does not include passing camels as I ride my mobillete home at dusk. Where the setting sun is not larger and oranger than life, where old hunched women, stooped and crooked, carrying whatever, do not cross my everyday path. If I lived somewhere else, it must be where, once in awhile, a visit to a friend will include watching a new mother goat sniffing, licking and getting to know her brand new, straw and afterbirth covered babies as they shyly open their eyes and begin to discover their limp and awkward limbs.

I spent another winter Eid in Glissia, the first day with my friends, Kharia and Jamel and their family.

I forgot my camera in the morning, so I didn't get photos of the aloosh (lamb) that was killed.

Again, I sat and watched as they skinned the animal, that will feed the family for a long time. Much of the meat is preserved by salting it in a traditional way. In the second photo, you can see the fat and some intestines salted and hanging in the yard. This is a typical way families use every piece of meat.

Nothing gets wasted. Kharia roasted the lamb's head on a fire later in the afternoon. On the second day of Eid, at another home of dear friends, I watched while the mother spent almost an hour chopping and hacking the sheep head for a special soup with beans. The knife was imbedded in the head, and she had to hammer at it for a very long time until the strong bones of the head finally broke in two. The sound of the bone cracking is very intense. For my western ears, eyes and mind, this is a very very surreal experience. I am surprised at my ability to participate in this ritual. But these are dear friends, and it would hurt to be too shocked. As well, as I have said before, in the west, much worse things are done to animals before they are killed- we just not informed... Here, the animal has a happy, free life, then it is killed, halal, in a spiritual thankful and humane way.

A few days ago, I went to visit Kharia, and discovered that their goat had JUST had two babies. What a privilege to watch as Kharia checked the babies health, blew into the nostrils of one that wasn't breathing too well at first, and helped the mama to start to feed the babies. I took many photos, and included a few in this blog. Remember you can click on then to enlarge. Enjoy!

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