This morning as I was sitting at my computer in my house catching up with people, I started hearing the students outside running around. In the morning, students are on duty, which basically means keeping the compound nice and clean. Once a week for one section, duty is cutting the grass of the big field outside my front door. All of these students were running around and at first I thought they were chasing each other jokingly for some small, “insult,” one made against another (same type of horseplay we have in the States). But no, they were organized and going after something.
The way they were hacking the ground with their scythes I thought it was a snake. Snakes here are the devil, and all must be killed, says conventional wisdom. This includes the little garter snakes that crawl around and couldn’t hurt anything bigger than a mouse even if they tried. Kenyans take their snake-killing very seriously. But as I watched, I saw an obviously mammalian head pop up out of the grass. My students were still chasing it quite energetically, trying their best to kill it.
Which they eventually did. Just as I got outside, they succeeded in cornering it and killing it. I asked what it was, and they said a gazelle. It was too small for the species of gazelle I know, so I asked if it was a baby, and they said yes. But at the same time the animal had too much fat on it and was too disproportional for a baby gazelle (again, my opinion), so I am putting bets on it being a member of the dik dik species, which are of the same genus as antelope, not of gazelle.
My students will most likely hand it over to the kitchen, who will then properly butcher it and they will eat it for lunch or dinner. This is a fairly regular occurrence on this compound, and two of these chases have now happened on the field in front of my house.