The Tanzanian villagers had invited me to a welcome celebration three days
As the honored guest, I would have the privilege of killing the cow for the
feast. My brother, Father Steve Brown, told the villagers I would be honored to
do so. But, later, I protested: "I can’t kill a cow!" Over the next two nights
of my three-week visit to Tanzania, I had bad dreams. In one I was holding a
screaming, pecking chicken while trying to chop off its head with a rusty ax.
In another I was chasing a big spotted cow. The Tanzanian villagers were
laughing at me. I was scared. I had never killed a cow, goat or even a
chicken. I was afraid that the village people would 1 see me as a coward. If
only I could start with a chicken.
The dreaded day came. As we drove the long, bumpy dirt road to the village, I
had only one thought in mind: "How do I get out of this." As we approached,
several people ran alongside the truck cheering and yelling. When we got there
I met the chief who said many things to me, none of which I understood. The
translator explained that the chief was very privileged to have a brave and
strong white person to celebrate with him. The chief then asked me to come and
pick the cow that most appealed to me. I picked a scrawny black one that looked
almost dead anyway. As the cow was held down by five men, the chief offered me
an old rusty 12-inch knife.
At that moment, I
got a flash of inspiration. Turning to the translator, I said: "I am honored,
but I would much rather learn from the master." That made the chief’s day —