The Mayfair Baptist Church is a funny place full of funny people. Stef and I are fond of saying that “everybody in Africa is jacked” and Mayfair is a good place to collect evidence. (We are all jacked, but Africa seems to magnify the human condition…)
Among the many crazy faces around here is Juma, a refugee from Burundi.
From the Wikipedia: Burundi is the poorest country in the world, in terms of GDP per capita: US$90 as of 2007. 68% of the population lived below the poverty line in 2002. According to the World Food Programme, the majority of children aged under 5 (56.8%) suffer from chronic malnutrition. Juma is 42, speaks Swahili, French, and enough English to completely misunderstand everything we tell him. He also bears a striking resemblance to Ronald McDonald, albeit a deep ebony version, so much so that the guys around the house call him “Mr. McDonald”. Above all else, he is an African, as close to the general stereotype as one can get.
A few nights ago, Stef and I provided sandwiches for a big group of people. We bought bread, lunch-meat (sliced chicken-loaf – Mmm…), individually wrapped cheese slices, mayonnaise, etc…
All of our friends successfully completed the task of sandwich-making quite proficiently. All except Juma.
Stef and I noticed that all of the South Africans were laughing at him as he studied the plastic-wrapped cheese slice. We smiled and assumed that he would figure it out. Well, he didn’t. Imagine the laughter that broke out as Juma began eating his freshly-prepared sandwich, including a still wrapped slice of cheese.
His face crinkled as he fought to bite through the plastic and then scrunched up even more as he tried to decide whether he would chew it and swallow or spit the whole thing out.
Eventually, he got the help he needed and he enjoyed a sandwich without plastic interference.
Just another day in Africa, watching Mr. McDonald try to eat plastic-wrapped cheese…