Have you ever seen the show “Man vs. Wild?” It’s a popular show on Savannah. We have several episodes and it’s a family show we can all watch together without having to be subjected to another cartoon. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about this British guy that puts himself in survivor type situations (stranded on a desert island needing to be rescued, dropped in the middle of a rainforest and has to find his way out, etc.) and educates/entertains the viewer with various ways to find food, water, make tools, navigate, etc. You can imagine the draw to an eight year old boy.
So it should come as no surprise that Jake likes to “play” man vs. wild when we go on hikes or venture out to the beach. He has a “camel skin” pouch that he drinks his water from (there was one episode where the guy used a camel skin for various different things, one of them being to collect water. I think that was the same episode he opened up the stomach of a dead camel and squeezed water out of his digested food.). He has been known to try and navigate by the sun as well as use bamboo and a leaf to try and make a water catcher. My favorite was when he and Andy went foraging for termites.
Him: “Mommy, mommy, mommy! You have to try these!”
Me: “Try what?”
Me: “Why? I have snacks in my bag….good snacks.”
Him: “Oh come on! They’re good! They taste like pine nuts!”
Me: “Fine” crunch, crunch “hmmm…they do taste pine nutty”
These little adventures are often instigated by my dear husband and are usually pretty tame, yet entertaining all the same (like when he fried up grasshoppers in OK this summer for all of the cousins to try).
Well, it seems they’ve stepped up their game since I’ve been gone. It started with an air rifle. Before we get all anti-guns on me, let me just say, Andy and I both come from families with guns. They were always used for hunting, we learned gun safety at an early age and while I’m not a card carrying member of the NRA, I don’t believe that guns do bad things. I think people do bad things. While we don’t have guns on board, its strictly because they’re a pain in the rear when traveling between the various countries. Ok…with that out of the way….
Andy bought Jake an air rifle and while they were waiting out the super typhoon in their little hide out, Jake took target practice at some buoys Andy set up in the water. When he got bored with that, he took to shooting the hundreds of leaves floating around and got quite good with his aim. Like anything, when you get pretty good at it, you want a new challenge. So it went with Jake. He wanted to go hunting.
If you’ve ever been to this side of the world, you would know that there is never a shortage of rats. All shapes and sizes…mostly the big, hairy, disgusting variety. Andy figured no one would complain if there was one less rat on the islands. So off they went to an undisclosed location and searched for the rats. Apparently, Jake is pretty good at this hunting thing because it was a one shot, one kill right to the head.
As he stood there with his kill, Andy said he had the biggest grin on his face. He said a 12 point buck wouldn’t have gotten any more excitement.
“Let’s eat it, daddy!”
“Yes! You have to eat what you kill!”
Can’t argue with that…if don’t want to eat it, don’t shoot it, right?
So being the kind of guy he is (I just couldn’t find the right adjective there), Andy showed Jake how to skin and gut it (I had no idea that’s how they were fitting science in while I was gone), and threw it on the barbie….far away from the ribs they were supposed to eat that night (I hope). After numerous bouts of “is it done yet?” they finally dove in.
“Hey daddy, you know that really bad taste you get in your mouth when you eat a bad chicken? That’s what this tastes like! Yuck!”
And just like that, rat is off the menu.
I know some of you are worried about the whole disease aspect of this…rest assured, these are not garbage eating rats…they’re coconut eating rats…I think that makes a difference? Anyway, that which does not kill us, only makes us stronger, right?
A few extra tidbits about rats…. http://discovermagazine.com/2006/dec/20-things-rats
And in case you’re curious, Jake is not the only one who wanted to try the rat meat… http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/05/03/5_ways_you_know_youre_eating_rat_meat