In the last week we have seen on the nightly news instances of villagers feasting on a hippo (that was stuck crossing the road) and a buffalo (that was shot by rangers).
Yesterday I had a quick lunch at Kenchic (Kimathi) and as I picked away at my rather dry fries and chicken, a man with a clean colourful shirt sat next to me. I didn’t really notice that he wasn’t eating, as I picked at my food and read the “Weekly Advertiser.” But after I finished, and rolled up the remains of my lunch to throw in the trash, he "shhh'd me," and indicated that I should leave them on the counter. I was shocked, as I understood that he wanted my leftover lunch. I gathered my newspaper and went to queue at the washbasin, and when I looked over my shoulder he was gone, and so were my chicken bones and dry fries!
This got me thinking – if a typical (non-working) Nairobian is hungry enough to camp at a fast food place for leftovers (can’t do it at a restaurant which has fewer patrons), how many wild animals are being eaten in the rural areas away from TV cameras and how much bush meat is being supplied to urban areas disguised as beef. The pictures on TV were fascinating and disturbing, until I realised that humans are omnivores, and Africans used to eat all sorts of animals until the missionaries came and told us about which split-hoof animals were acceptable to eat.
At this rate its only a matter of time before the US State Department advises travellers to Kenya to carry their own PH or anti-serum detectors, which they should use to jab to jab their nyama choma or pepper steak, to confirm the source animal of their lunch. Read a full report on how common bush meat is in the country here