Day 113: The Alligator Nelson Mandela.

People here eat anything and everything.

After what I’ve seen on this boat.

The living things sold, killed, cooked then eaten.

It doesn’t surprise me that there are some here who would eat a human being.

100% Serious.

Submitted for your approval I call this story: The Alligator Nelson Mandela.

So like everyday, I’m told to go to either side of the boat to behold some poor animal in a canoe being sold as food.

The most upsetting issue for me is that these animals are big, amazing creatures from the forest, river and sky.

But are viewed as entrees, regardless of national or personal reverence.

Turtles, Caterpillars, Monkeys, Rats, ridiculously large Cat Fish, Electric Eels, Ducks and yesterday, an Alligator.

BOBBY Bobby, come see!

Yup.

It’s a fuck’n Alligator.

Now.

I’m, as I said, used to creatures being mindlessly devoured here, but I couldn’t stand this one.

His front arms were tied behind his back.

His little fingered hands looked like that of a small child wearing designer gloves.

The treatment of the beast was a tragedy, but simultaneously interesting.

I didn’t come to Africa to impose my cultural expectations on locals.

I came to assimilate, to free myself from the western way of thinking and behaving.

I’m trying very hard to accept all ideologies, leaving my judgements and preconceptions in Canada.

All said.

I’m an animal lover.

I rarely get the opportunity to touch animals I’d normally only experience in zoos.

(If I went to zoos, that is).

Getting the opportunity to examine this beautiful teenage killing machine up close, while watching people be both afraid of him and act like “we’re gunna eat this motherfucker”, was a trip.

His mouth had a horizontal stick in it, then was tied shut.

Q: Bobby how did you come to own an Alligator?

There’s a large military entourage on the m/b Singa Mwanbe going to Kinshasa.

One of these men is a General.

The General is the one who initially asked me for money so that he could buy and eat this poor beast.

I had 30$ in my wallet.

I asked, if I gave him 20 dollars to buy the Alligator from the fisherman, would he sell it to me for 10$?

Hahaha, fucking salesmen of the century.

He, immediately accepted.

I’m sure he was thinking “Oh Yeah, me and this Muzungu are gonna eat Gator steaks tonight!”

Nope. We’re going to let him go.

Uproar!

Within thirty minutes there was no standing room on the deck where the Alligator and I were.

People, the ones that knew a little English, were desperately trying to convince me not to free him.

Let’s …eat him.

C’mon let’s eat this reptile, man.

Bobby, let’s eat em’.

You know you want to…

To be fair, almost all of these people were hungry, and a 15 pound Alligator is a common source of food.

There was confusion bordering on anger toward me for wanting to free this animal.

As I waited for the razor blade to cut him loose, I got to examine him.

I got the feeling he was a she, her head was hard, it had what looked like horns. Her snout, her teeth my god, she looked like a dragon

Donkey would have loved her.

I realized she must of been tied up for awhile, so I poured a little water in her mouth.

Her eyes closed as it went down her throat, then they opened slowly.

I poured the the rest on her head and rubbed her down.

She closed her eyes.

She was relaxing.

When the razor blade eventually came, bystandards wanted to cut the rope where there was tension then throw her in the water.

I explained that she would have rope on her wrists and legs for many years, that we must cut her loose completely.

Reluctantly, they helped.

Then they wanted to throw her in the Congo river.

“Her mouth!” I said “How will she eat?”

So I cut the rope wrapped around her snout, top and bottom.

The General grabbed her legs and tail.

I had her snout.

On the count of three we throw her in the river.

And we did.

It was beautiful.