12 November 2007

easy mac and ugly americans

Did you know that we live in Africa?

The other night, I found the house microwave and began to heat up Stef’s dinner for her. She would be enjoying a wonderful bowl of Kraft Easy Mac that my mother had faithfully mailed through to us.

As I placed the cup into the microwave, a nearby African looked very puzzled.

“What is that?”
“It is macaroni and cheese, only faster and self-contained.” (See, they enjoy mac and cheese here, only they make it on a stove from scratch.)
“Well, if someone is in a hurry, they can enjoy it quickly. It is not as good, obviously, but that isn’t always the issue.”
“Hmmph, clever I guess.” (At this point I received the look that is typically reserved for the time when someone begins to think of ‘Ugly Americans’…)

It is strange to me that, in little ways, the world notices the decline of some of the good things in life and notices that we seem to care very little. I mean, we have desecrated Mac-n-Cheese, not the International Declaration of Human Rights. Still, I got the look that implied that my culture stinks and, since I am from that culture, I carry an odor as well.

It says something about conflicting priorities that our cultures possess. Somewhere deeper than that, it hurts a bit. Under the surface, we sense resentment from some people here. And that, I suppose says something about the price of ministry.

...And for the record, I prefer homestyle macaroni and cheese, extra gooey. If I am making the Kraft version (on the stove with the awe-inspiring packet of yellow powder), I enjoy that too. And I always sneak in a little extra butter and a little extra milk. Now you know.