A game of 20 Questions between a hungry Somalian child and an affluent North American, where it's clear the North American isn't very good at the game and, frankly, clueless.


Photo: Feisal Omar / Reuters

NORTH AMERICAN: Is it an animal, mineral or vegetable?

SOMALIAN: Yes sir, I believe it is all three, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: Hmm... Can I get it online?

SOMALIAN: I’m sorry, sir. I do not understand your meaning, sir. On where, sir?

NORTH AMERICAN: Online... You know, like at eBay or Amazon?

SOMALIAN: I do not think so, sir. You do not need to go all the way to the Amazon, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: Then is it close by?

SOMALIAN: Yes, sir. I think it’s close by, sir. Definitely don’t have to go to the Amazon, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: Is it in my pocket?

SOMALIAN: I don’t know about that, sir. It is very much a possibility, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: It’s not these Viagra pills is it?

SOMALIAN: I don’t think so, sir. In truth, I do not know what Viagra is, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: It’s a kind of medicine. Are you thinking of a medicine?

SOMALIAN: Not this time, sir. Maybe next time, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: Can I get it at a mall?

SOMALIAN: Mall? Do you mean Mali, the country, sir? Of course, you can get it at Mali, sir. But that is on the other side of Africa and therefore very far away.

NORTH AMERICAN: Then, you really should build another mall.

SOMALIAN: Yes, sir. Of course, sir. I will try to speak to my friends in Mali at a later date. But for now, can I give you a clue, sir? Here it is, sir. The thing I am thinking of will make me feel good.

NORTH AMERICAN: Really?... Well then... Maybe it was something you saw on Oprah?

SOMALIAN: I’m sorry, sir. Again, I do not know what you are talking about, sir. What is this Oprah you speak of, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: Oprah? Oh, she’s great. She’s always talking about good feelings. How to feel good about yourself, why you should make others feel good, who is out there spreading good feelings, etc – wonderful stuff. Although to be honest, what I personally love are her “Favourite Things” episodes. Anyway, it’s a pity she retired her show – where I come from, we kind of eat that stuff up.

SOMALIAN: She does sound wonderful, sir. And yes! Yes! You can eat it! You can definitely eat it, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: Great! I must be getting closer... So you can eat it... Is it Atkins-approved? SOMALIAN: I’m not entirely sure, sir. I’m sorry sir but I do not understand, sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: I mean is it carbohydrate free? You know, to do away with the love handles...

SOMALIAN: Ummm.... Sorry sir, but love handles? I do not understand this term.

NORTH AMERICAN: Nevermind... You’re obviously one of those high metabolism folks who don’t need to worry about love handles.

SOMALIAN: If you say so sir.

NORTH AMERICAN: Anyway, let’s see... If you can eat it, then we can probably presume that you saw it on the Food Network, right?

SOMALIAN: Yes! Yes! You got it, sir. The answer was food! Although what is this “network of food” you speak of. It sounds magical, sir!

NORTH AMERICAN: Well, I don’t know if it’s magical...

SOMALIAN: If you say so sir. But no matter, you have guessed right – The answer was food: I crave food.

NORTH AMERICAN: Awesome! And in less than twenty questions!

SOMALIAN: Yes sir, right you are sir. But tell me... Do you have any food?

NORTH AMERICAN: No, sorry - not on me, unfortunately. But let me buy you lunch! Must be a food court around here somewhere. Where was that Mali place again?

* * *

UNICEF reports that “Two million children are at risk of starvation in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. The worst drought in 60 years is compounded by rising food prices and a refugee crisis, creating a true children’s emergency in the Horn of Africa.” To make a donation, please click on this link.