Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Real World

I’ve had enough sleep over the last three days that my sense of humor has returned. And humor is a necessary requisite to live in this apartment these days. Yesterday, at one point, I looked around and saw fourteen people in the house!

Besides Maman Leah, Chloe and Mallory, there’s Rev. Bettye and Leah Deux (Bouas) living in the girls’ room. We have two day guards, Jean and Philippe, plus Jean’s two small boys, Guillame and Miguel, who had come over to play with our girls. And Geni, our cook. Down in the alley sits Mr. Djibril, our driver.

And this summer, we’ve also got an old dog, Beena, hanging around. We’re keeping her for our friends, the Schmidts. Which makes for a pretty full house all the time, not to mention the odd and assorted number of pastors who stop by occasionally.

Last night while sitting at dinner, I remarked that our house would make a perfect setting for a reality TV show. This prompted lots of laughter around the table. Since I was a TV/film major in a previous life, I carried the thought to its logical conclusion – here are a few ideas for any TV producer who’s interested in making a cheap, entertaining reality show in our place:

Big Sister: Put one male missionary in a house with seven women of varying ages and only three bathrooms … and watch sparks fly! Hidden cameras throughout the house capture the missionary’s dismay when he learns that the new mission intern is a vegetarian!

The Amazing Race: Two teams of missionaries must travel to each of the 19 Methodist churches in Cameroon in the fastest time possible … in the rainy season … using only public transportation!

Fear Factor: Watch as the Magruder family competes against other in stunts and feats of bravery, including driving a Renault through downtown Douala in rush-hour, where the potholes are bigger than the car; eating jars of piment pepper sauce; and talking one’s way through a police stop.

Survivor: Cameroon: Building a church from scratch is a real challenge, especially in West Africa. Watch the Mission Office struggle through the weekly obstacles of raising money, finding places of worship, and attempting to communicate in French. Every week, a member of the family gets voted off – and must return to America!

Star Preacher Search: Help the Mission Director identify new, up-and-coming Methodist preachers in Cameroon. Every week, listen to a five-minute exhortation and then phone in your vote! The winning preacher gets a TV ministry in Yaounde!

The Simpler Life: Paris Hilton doesn’t know the meaning of “simplicity.” Every week, a different “luxury” item is removed from the Magruder missionary residence, and the cameras capture the reality of the family adjusting to life without a television, or a refrigerator, or a computer … oh wait, I couldn’t blog if that happened. Nix that idea …

Anyone interested … Mr. Trump?