Living Abroad: How (Not) to Get Pregnant

by Miss Footloose

Myths about how (not) to get pregnant are plentiful all over the world. If you want to get pregnant, don’t eat eggs, but do eat lots of peanuts, and drink shuddersome herbal concoction with bizarre or creepy ingredients. I have my own tale to tell, just hang on.

Getting pregnant abroad

Pregnant abroad?

Do you love sausage?

Of course there are many kinds of sausages, different varieties the world over.  I took this photo in France of a market stall loaded up with saucisses. Clearly the French have a thing for them, as well as for all sorts of cured and potted meats. And what does sausage have to do with getting pregnant, you ask? I’ll tell you.

French sausages

Do French sausages have magic properties?


Seeing this display brought to mind a special kind of sausage I was given in Kenya, years ago. I remember it very well as I was not charmed by that particular gift at that particular time.


Oxfam Goats Kenya

Kenyan goats

Have you ever eaten goat meat?

I have, in various ways in different countries, perfectly interesting and tasty. My very first goat-meat experience took place in Kenya, East Africa, the country where I was married in a bizarre 10-minute ceremony. My Peace Corps volunteer husband worked with Kikuyu farmers who often made him presents of fresh peas, passion fruit and other produce, all consumed by us with appetite and appreciation.

One night my mate came home bearing a gigantic blood sausage crafted from goat odds and ends, presented to him as a gift by a Kikuyu farmer who was concerned about my failure to produce a mtoto after an entire year of marriage. The sausage, then, was a fertility sausage.

Mutura sausageKenyan goat meat sausage: Mutura. Photo credit Mark Wiens | Flickr CC

I examined the sausage respectfully, listening carefully to my prince who had witnessed its preparation.

Not for the faint of heart

Let me not dwell on his colorful description of slaughter, goat innards, blood; suffice it to say that the sausage looked like the ancestral mother of all sausages, much bigger than what you see here on the photo. The thought of its possessing magical powers did not seem at all outrageous. We were in Africa, after all. Stuff happens there.

I took a deep breath . . .

“Do I have to eat this?” I asked. I was, after all, a goat-meat virgin.

“Yes,” said my mate. “He’ll expect a report and I am an honest man.” Which he is.

“We can share,” I said hopefully.

He took a step backward. “This is meant to help women conceive. I’m not touching this thing.”

I contemplated the mega sausage. “What if it works?”

“It will be a miracle.”

“It will be a disaster.”

He gave me a pleading look. “Be a sport and have some.”

I was a sport and had some.

I chewed. I tasted. I swallowed.

I hate to disappoint you, but it tasted fine, sort of what you’d expect goat sausage to taste like: strong and pungent with a hint of potent.

And for you who are wondering: Yes, I did get pregnant.

But it wasn’t until three years later, on another continent, just as we had planned.

* * *

What strange foods have you had the courage to try? Any special powers attached to them? Were you ever in a situation where you could not refuse to eat something without seriously insulting your host? Please entertain me!

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As a former French, I did eat “boudin” when I was a kid. Then one day, I saw a “how it’s made” documentary about it… and never ate it again! Just the English name, “blood sausage”, is a bit more graphic than “boudin” 😆 I live in a multicultural family (French, Canadian and Chinese) and I’m used to Chinee “delicacies” that can seem weird to Westerners, including rotten eggs or gooey treats such as coconut balls. I don’t mind. Hey, after all I eat “rotten” cheese! I’m more picky about strange meat. I wouldn’t eat liver, tongue, etc. A popular… Read more »

My neighbour walked past with a dead chicken just the other day…they breed rabbits for food too…and pigs. I’m hoping the pregnancy charms all stay away from me, everyone I know seems to be pregnant at the moment, been there done that already and am not willing to start again!

Talking about pregnancy, one day while visiting friends in the Portuguese countryside, our host insisted on killing a rabbit to make a stew. I’m not a great meat eater, but certainly don’t eat rabbit, as when I was young my grandmother kept chickens and rabbits and I refused to eat them. (I eat chicken now). She was sure I must be craving a lovely homemade stew, and even though I insisted with her not to bother making us lunch, she went ahead. I had to put one or two bits of stew in my mouth not to appear rude, luckily… Read more »

Not From Lapland

Oh I love goat – it’s one of my favourite meats. Never had a goat sausage though. Sadly they don’t seem to sell them in Tesco.

When I was an au pair in France, I ate horsemeat. I knew it was horsemeat, because we’d had a conversation about how the English don’t eat horsemeat. Then the next day, for dinner, we had “steak hache”, and the children were all excited, and kept asking me “how do you like this STEAK? Do you think it’s delicious?”. I felt I had to play along, pretended to enjoy the “steak” and then feigned horror when I found out that it was horse.

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