ma bell

august 3, 2010. uvira, south kivu, drc.

A joke heard in the Congo (loosely translated): Ronald Reagan, James Callaghan, Saddam Hussein and Joseph Mobutu are sitting together in Hell.

That’s it. That’s the joke.









Alternate (full) version: The four are sitting around (in Hell still) when all of a sudden Reagan’s phone rings. He picks up and after a few seconds, shouts out, “Oh, I just heard Osama bin Laden is down here! Has anyone seen him? If it’s true, I must let the White House know!” The three others are all stunned, Saddam, in particular. They all start running around looking for bin Laden, but no one finds him. Saddam is ecstatic: “I must call my Arab brothers upstairs to let them know bin Laden is still alive!” He takes out his phone and speaks to his former deputies for three minutes, explaining what happened. When he is done, he gets a phone bill for two million dollars. He is so incensed and shocked, he starts foaming at the mouth. “I must warn everyone back home!” Reagan thinks, so he calls up the White House and speaks for three minutes to brief them. He also gets a phone bill for two million dollars. Then Callaghan makes a call to the Home Office and sure enough, another bill for two million dollars. Mobutu then gets on his phone and calls up his old buddies, a few former Ministers, some generals, and a gaggle of his many many children. He ends up talking for over three hours. The others are just shaking their heads, expecting the very worst. When Mobutu’s bill arrives, it’s for two dollars. The others are outraged. They all yell, “Why is his bill only two dollars and he spoke so long??”

Mobutu flashes them a mighty grin and says, “Local call.”

2 Responses to “ma bell”

  1. 1 Dan Barus
    September 14, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    SDo you speak Kirundi or Swahili? Have an assignment for in interpreter who speaks one or both of these languages.

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