Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dear USAID Guy,

WELCOME to Khartoum!!! (Or wherever in Sudan you will eventually end up -- I didn't actually READ your bio, I haven't really had time and I didn't actually want to....) I would like to introduce myself, my name is Michel and I will be your Sponsor here at the Embassy! (I'm not sure what you did to piss someone off but they must REALLY hate you!!) Please let me know whatever it is that I can do for you to prepare you for your arrival here. (Please note that I won't actually DO anything, but I might tell someone about it and maybe they might help you...but chances are slim I'll even read your response. You should probably prepare yourself.)

First, let me tell you a little about myself (my favorite subject...EVER). I "work" here at the Embassy in Khartoum and I am in charge of.....something'll come to me....well, it's probably something cool - but I can't remember right off hand -- But I'm sure it is some sort of fab! You will work in the USAID office and you will be in charge of USAID stuff....whatever it is that you guys actually DO here. I assume you give out USAID to USAID needers. Whatever.

So enough about work. Here are some critical things you need to know about Khartoum to help you prepare for your posting to Sudan:

(1) It is Hot. I'm talking Africa Hot. Even though it is on average 119 to 198 degrees outside on any given day, you will be expected to wear clothes to work at the Embassy. May I suggest you purchase some disposable ones. What the Embassy does NOT tell you is that the running water in your house -- although it will SAY "hot" and "cold" - in actuality have two tempartures that are indicators for "Volcanic" and "Shit! that is hot!" As such, your clothes will shrink with every wash (or at least that is what I keep telling myself since I can barely button my pants that are all now capris and my shirts barely cover my arms and I now refer to them as "shrugs").

(2) The AC in the houses and offices have two settings: Icy and Not On (or Holy Shit! It is hot in here). Your AC will work fine during the day while you are at work and when GSO would conceivably send someone over to fix it. It will, however, turn itself off at exactly 7 pm (what I now refer to as "the bitching hour") when GSO goes home and pretends that they cannot hear your calls.

(3) The Sudanese like to pretend like they have all kinds of cakes and cookies to offer. DO NOT BE FOOLED by these assertions. That shit is NOT cake! You may want to pack extra boxes of cake mix. I don't CARE if you don't like cake...some of us do Jackass! It would only be polite of you to bring your sponsor a cake and perhaps some brownies. I'm just saying....What!? Were you born in a BARN!?

(4) The Sudanese do not use toilet paper like we use toilet paper. (You will find a roll of toilet paper in the middle of the table - that is your napkin) Therefore, it is best for you to bring your own and to ALWAYS have some with you. You should also check to ensure that you can flush any toilet before you use it. I'm just saying, SOMETIMES people can be caught off guard in certain situations. Why just last week when I was in Port Sudan I had to use the restroom (Please also note that the Sudanese function similar to camels. They neither drink or eat and never ever have to go to the bathroom. If you do not speak up, you will die in the middle of a town inhabited by demon cats.....) Anyway, do not assume that said restroom that they lead you to for your use is actually suitable for your use. Under no circumstances should you lift the lid and check - there is inevitably scary shit in there! I still have flashbacks and will likely need to see out professional help to get past this one. As such, I suggest you bring diapers. I know I am.

(5) You may want to update your living will. After approximately three months in country and numerous near death driving experiences, I have updated mine - because there is no way that I want to LINGER here in Sudan. I have also included the instructions "do not resuscitate if ugly." I worry that if Josh were not here, someone might not know that.

(6) Mail comes randomly. You may want to mail yourself some boxes circa one week before you leave so that you are not despondent when mail arrives and you don't have anything. People need mail!!

Well, I hope this introductory letter has been helpful. Again, Please let me know how I may be of further assistance. I may or may not be here when you arrive. Chances are pretty good I will have been declared Persona Non-Grata by then, and will be back in the states. As such, I'm sure you understand that I will, therefore, be under no obligation to actually speak to you.

Take care and best regards.

Your sponsor,


Amy (the Happy Mom!) said...

I really want a cupcake after seeing the love M81 sent you. You make me love cake even more that I used to!

I think I need to send you some of those purse-sized Charmin rolls, and of course the matching seat covers (do they even HAVE seats there?).

Email me?

PS - I disappeared, but I came back. Launched new site, which was like mini-birthing experience for all involved (read: hubs will tell you what a bitch I've been for the past week).

lakeviewer said...

How do I begin? This is so frankly, ffunny and true! Houch! And I can't believe you are pulling this off so easily, so candidly. Aren't you on somebody's list already? Didn't you have to change your identity?

Seriously, you've become my daily sunny delight. Anytime you put out a book, I'm there to buy.

Susan said...

Stay away from the fiber filled pop tarts until you leave Sudan with the non-toilets and toilet paper issues. Shudder.

Snorted when you had to check to see if you'd called Ann Taylor again. Hysterical!

Captain Dumbass said...

I think you could find work in human resources.

blognut said...

I think you've done this poor guy a great service in providing all of the important details that no one ever wants to share up front.

He will thank you for this. If he's really smart, he will thank you with cake.

Anonymous said...

The State Department should employ you to write their documents!

darsden said...

rotflmfao peeing everywhere...oh my goodness you are so funny. See all this time I thought I missed that important note that stated what you did..but I didn't cuz hell you don't even know!

blognut-I feel sorry for the dude too. he is going to be peeing himself after Michel is through with him.

Michel said...

Amy: I have made it my mission to ensure that people are aware of the joy of cake....lots of cake.... Welcome back!

Lakeviewer: You could just send me cash now for every blog post you read and/or print them all bind them with a By Michel on the front and then send me cash. either way, send me cash.

Susan: I'm waiting for the day when I call Ann Taylor and ask for Josh - and they say, "Michel, Damnitt...this is ANN TAYLOR! Josh is not here....but your brown pants are you want me to ship them out??"

I call them more than I should, frankly. I heart them.

CD: but wouldn't I have to talk to people?? You know I don't like that. I hate know....those people.

Blognut: I thought so too!! I'm hoping its daniel craig and he's on some do-gooder kick and I can slap him to wake up and snap out of it. He's on my list you know....sigh...daniel craig....

you know I'm going to be pissed when he actually shows up now. If he's not daniel craig with a yellow cake and chocolate frosting, that guy is F'd.

Dedene: They DO employ me to write their documents. That is (frankly) the scary part!

Michel said...

Darsden: If you ever do find out what I do, be a lamb and send me a quick email. I should really know that. You know, in case someone asks....

Dee-Zigns Handcrafted Jewelry said...

God I needed a good laugh today, and yesterday for that matter!
You are a blessing in disguise, lol, although I'm sure others might not agree :). lol

tera said...

1: I really need to quit reading you at work. It makes me laugh. No one laughs here.
2: My co-workers now think I'm crazy.
3: Maybe I am crazy.
4: Email me and I will send you all a case of tp and cake. And a Daniel Craig movie.
5: :)

otin said...

S*U*D*A*N* - Sounds Unbearable Dirty And Nasty!

Terry said...

Your letter is great !
Thank you for sharing.
I followed Reddirt woman over here and I am so Glad I did .
I have had a great time reading your blog.
Happy Trails

Gaston Studio said...

I'm still laughing at what Otin wrote! At any rate, I hope he looks like Daniel Craig and is a master patisserie who can make THE most fantastic yellow cakes with chocolate icing... and you'll be so sorry you didn't befriend him.
Seems like Depends would be better than diapers.

Fragrant Liar said...

You need to write a book. Sudan: What to Expect When You're Not Expecting THIS! It can be a handy pocket guide with all your special tips-from-the-pro in it. Workbook optional, of course. I see you on Oprah!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I completely agree about writing a book. Would the USG allow you to do that? Best seller. Sure thing.

Char said...

Now that the USAID guy has been properly briefed, I bet he cannot WAIT to get there to meet you. I do sooo hope that he comes bearing cake or at least a box of Little Debs.

Hit 40 said...

Gosh this reminds me of my student teacher!!!!!! We both crack each other up! I am going to really miss him next year. Cutie and a great worker!

Did you meet your newbie yet?? I am so hoping that he is hot! Maybe... gray hair. LOL!!!

About a month into the whole student teacher thing... he kept calling me Mrs. _______. I finally asked what was up with the formalness. He said that he was told to call his teacher for the formal name unless told otherwise. REALLY!! I was so.. well crude at times!!! And, he still wanted to be formal????

So young and moldable!!! I also told him about the pool on the 4th floor. Poor thing believed it!!!

I have definitely broke him in for the real job in the fall.

Kelly's Ideas said...

You had me laugh up my diet coke.. now my nose hurts... So how hot is it really? I plan on going to West Africa next I'm kinda worrying about it... The thought of the toilets there....pretty yuck!


Pastor Sharon said...

Okay I laughed until I need those "diapers" you were talking about. Michel, I hope you know that you are totally making a wonderful difference in my life and this house on a daily basis, or on a postly basis.
This guy is in for the "time of his life"! Bring on the Charmin, Cake mix and Air conditioning. . . Get some ice cubes in that water. . .
Now, listen. . . I know that's not something easy. . . but seriously, those adult diapers or depends, in that weather and heat, you will be chapped and chafed. Go for cloth! Or hold it until you get back to the USA.

Gaston Studio said...

Tag, you're it! Or maybe you should just throw it at the new guy...

marathoner81 said...

How informative. You should write a survival in sudan for dummies book!

Suzy said...

Do not resusitate if ugly. I'm totally putting that in my will.