The Chicken Pilgrimage


I am not a farmer or a veterinarian so I don’t have much experience with animals. I have even less experience taking rides with livestock. But I suppose there is a first time for everything. I was in Africa with a couple of friends of mine on a mission trip. This is almost three years ago now.

We were traveling from one city to another that day and we had stopped that morning to pick up another passenger. I thought that it was going to be… well, a person. We pulled in and visited with a couple of the people for just a few minutes. It was nice enough. As we were getting ready to load back up, all of the sudden we hear this loud squawking sound. Across the way, one of the men we were with was pulling a live chicken out of his trunk.

That’s right… A chicken. Apparently, I have just been misusing my trunk my whole life. I kind of chuckled but really thought nothing of it and proceeded to get seated in our vehicle. We sat there for a bit waiting for everyone to get loaded up again. As we waited, I could not believe my eyes as they proceeded to wrap the lower half of the  chicken in a plastic bag leaving the head free. And then they opened the back and set the chicken in between me and the other guy with me in the backseat.

You ever have those awkward moments where you sit down next to people you don’t know and everyone kind of stares for a minute before they have the nerve to introduce themselves? Of course, everyone has had those moments. I had never had that moment with a chicken before. I did then. And I kid you not, it was doing the same thing. Looking around, just staring at us as if saying, “Who are you?”

And we rode like that for several hours that day, the chicken there in the middle just staring. It was remarkably well-behaved, or maybe for chickens, it was unremarkable. I am not that familiar with chickens traveling behavioral patterns. But it was just so weird, having that little guy sitting between us the whole trip.

It was easily one of the strangest car-rides I have ever had. The chicken never made a sound the whole trip. He just chilled out in between us the whole way. He was no fun when it came to a game of “I-Spy” but other than that, he was a pretty cool fellow. As far as travel buddies, he was probably one of the best I have had.

(photo courtesy of Gualberto107/