Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nando's Concern For Starving Children

I was just sitting with Nando, watching "Friends." Nando loves "Friends." During a commercial break, there was an ad asking people to sponsor a child in the Third World. So I asked Nando, "have you ever considered sponsoring a child?"
"Why should I be interested in that?" Try to imagine Nando replying with a heavy Italian accent.
"I just thought you might have thought about it," I continued. Now, that's a bit of a white lie. If you asked me to bet hard earned money on it, I would say that no way would Nando ever sponsor a poor child overseas. I am just asking him in case it prompts him to say something amusing. When you are poor, this is one way you can entertain yourself, by asking your housemate questions you think might precipitate an amusing response. It's cheaper than an X Box 360.
"If I thought all the money goes to the child, that's one thing," Nando said, "but out of £10, only £2 goes to the child."
"How do you know that?" I am good at egging Nando on. More gold might be coming.
"Let's say you donate £10 per month to the charity," Nando explained." "They say, 'oh, I'll keep £2 for, whatever.' Then they send £8 worth of stuff to the airport to be loaded on the plane. The man who drives it to the airport, he takes a little. The man who load it on the plane, he take a little. The man who flies the plane, he takes a little and don't even get me started on what happens when the plane it get to the other side."
"You expect the guy who flies the plane to work for free?" Hey, I used to work as a pilot. Pilot's gotta eat, too.
"No, I don't expect him to work for nothing," Nando concedes. "He must be paid by...someone. But all the people take a bit for themselves. By the time the food arrives in Africa, maybe the child gets only a packet of crisps" (i.e, potato chips, for Norte Americanos).
"What if you knew all the money would go to the child?" I ask, keeping this going.
"For thirty years I can remember these people asking for money for children in Africa," Nando responds, "still, they are asking. Nothing is solved. What's wrong with these people? They are idiots!"
I sense a big payoff. "Why do you say that?"
"Because, they say these people walk thirty miles a day to get to water. Why walk thirty miles every day to the water? Move to where the fucking water is," Nando reasons. He's laughing and I'm laughing.
I can barely contain myself and I say, semi-hysterical, "maybe...maybe they can't move to where the water is," pausing for breath between laughing and talking, "maybe they have to stay where they are, because the food is there." I am now seriously laughing out loud.
"You need water for drinking, bath, cooking," Nando is self-propelled by now. "Why go every day thirty miles? Move near to the water and...let's say you eat some apples. Walk thirty miles to the apples and pick enough to last for several days. Then you don't have to walk everyday," Nando said. "In Europe and America, every city is either on the coast, or on the river," Nando gets geographical. "That's because you need water. These idiots stay thirty miles from the water. Move, you idiots!" Nando posed a question for me, then. "What would you do if there was a fly on your arm?"
Where is he going with this? "I guess I would kill it," the compassionate side of me answers.
"You would smack your arm," Nando demonstrates as he says this. "These people have thirty flies on their face and they don't move." Probably, the director told them not to move," I explain. Nando pauses, then continues, "and don't get me stated on these 'Afro -Americans.' They should be glad their great-great-great grandparents were slaves and brought to America. Now they have the chance to do something. If they were still in Africa, they be the ones walk thirty miles for the water and have thirty flies on their faces." Nando manages to have everything balance out at thirty.
"I know a woman who said that very thing," I inform Nando. "In America, this woman said she she was grateful her ancestors were brought to America, from Africa." I don't bother to inform Nando that this woman was my own grandmother. Who needs a Nintendo Wii, when you have a wind-up racist at home, to entertain?
"I like the English say,' charity begins at home,' " Nando offers.
"They say that in America," I point out.
"Oh well, I heard it after I move here," explains my Italian housemate. "If there was a person living next door, who was starving," Nando continued, "probably I would give some food or something." Nando shows his compassionate side.
"You like to give your charity face to face," I suggest. Nando nods his head yes. We'd spent enough time laughing at starving people in Third World countries, for one night. Nando would help the old woman next door. She's German.


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