Saturday, October 11, 2008

The 16th good thing about Northern Nigeria: seeing life's realities along with incentive to eat our vegetables

Our next stop on our tour agenda was a visit to the camel market. On the way there, we passed the street in this first picture which was lined with stalls with wooden tables covered with various pieces of meat being cut and sold -- sorry it's hard to see in this picture, because there was quite a lot of people shopping at the time we passed by. You couldn't pay me to buy my meat there, but to each his own. I'll give you fair warning now that this post has some pictures that shouldn't be studied closely by animal lovers or those with weak stomachs.

When we left the bus and entered the market, we learned that this meat market had a lot more than camels. At first we just saw cattle and goats.

As I was watching, one cow lying on the ground was having what looked like seizures and then laid still -- it appeared to be in the process of dying.

Others looked not far off from death.

There was a little cattle drive within the market area.

And rather comical efforts (in a sadistic kind of way) to get a cow to take a step up into the truck.

The camel area was at the far end of the market. Camels were once brought here as part of the Trans-Saharan trade route. Our guide said that now most of the camels are sold and used for their meat, not for transportation.

I suppose the marks on the camel were to document ownership.

Some members of our group took a ride on a camel. Brent and I passed on the opportunity, but the watching crowd enjoyed the show.

Anyone for some appetizers?

And, yet again, we visitors draw a crowd for the local people at the market.

Some people hang around for the show and others take a look and go on their way.

These girls all had a different reaction to being photographed, but don't you love that smile on the girl in the middle?

In another section of the market are tools needed for slaughtering the animals...

right beside a booth where one can get a manicure.

Then there is another business area of the meat yard. As you near it, you see the fires burning and smell some memorable odors (and --I'll give you a clue --it doesn't smell like steak cooking on the grill!).

We never saw where the cattle were butchered with the meat that made it onto the tables outside the walls, but there was a very busy area that used all the other parts of the cow that you don't see packaged in the meat section of your supermarket.

There were cow skulls and horns and legs. They would burn these parts over the fire to singe any hair and then cook them in kettles of water to get everything edible off them.

The day after our visit here, there was a segment on CNN International talking about how young people in Great Britain were starting to learn to use alternative and cheaper cuts of meat to economize with the rising costs of food. And I thought, "at last, something the Nigerians can teach the English!"

Are you ready to go vegetarian?

And on the street outside the market, sellers prepare suya, a skewered spiced beef stick, sold here complete with flies. (We didn't buy any.)


Rachel said...

I don't think I'd be eating any meat there either.

Anonymous said...

The good thing with Nigeria, is that they don't attempt to cover up their shortcomings, it is as you see it.

The bad thing is that order, food hygiene and cleanliness are in short supply.

Thank you for your posts (I've only ever been to the south, but the meat markets there are just as bad as up north).