Starving men, women and children of famine-stricken regions of Africa have been voicing their growing dissatisfaction over the content of food aid that the UN and other independent aid agencies are currently administering to them to alleviate their hunger.
Summoning what little strength he had left to untie yet another big bag of grounded oats, peasant Angolan farmer, Ngobia Gambantu, shaking his head, fumed, "Oh my God, it's oats again. Look at this! Do they honestly expect us to keep eating this? I mean what do we do - add water and hope it turns into some kind of gooey edible paste. Frankly I'd rather remain starving".
Looking on, his equally hungry wife, Delilah, added frustratedly, "I mean if we had a microwave maybe I could turn this into something palitable but our village doesn't even have electricity. My stomach can't take any more of this".
"God I could kill for a thin base pizza with Ricotta cheese, seasoned mushrooms, ham and mixed peppers right about now", she added licking her parched lips.
Gambantu also expressed his distaste (forgive the pun) for Aid Agencies' "unceremonious" means of food distribution.
With a Seinfeld-esque look of scornful bamboozlement, he asked, "And what's the deal with this throwing food off of airplanes? Where I come from - here - it's considered highly rude to throw food at all, let alone throw it from way up in an airplane. I mean what if they are throwing eggs? They're so fragile it's not even funny. They'd shatter mid flight. But then again like we'd ever get to eat eggs. For us it's an extra special treat to get a wholemeal biscuit".
Chief UN spokesman Fred Eckhard was taken aback by the famine victims' discontent arguing, "the food we send and the way we send it is cheap and economical and given the panoptic spread of African starvation, the only viable option at this juncture".
Pressed by reporters on the controversial taste issue (or lack thereof), he admitted, "We are aware our food-aid could taste nicer. We will look into this situation and continue encouraging food-aid manufacturers to add some extra flavour to the food. I do know certain Chinese food-aid groups have been adding MSG to their rice which of course I wholeheartedly applaud. But hey it's food aid - what the hell do they expect... a wedding cake with an ice-cream sundae topping?
The plight of these flavour-deprived African's has touched the heart of millions of people around the globe. American fast food connoisseur, Dan Farley, dines daily in his local McDonalds and admits to feeling a profound sympathy for those forced to eat food-aid. "I sure as hell feel for them African folks. To think about life without a thrice-a-day Big Mac is to think about a sustained period of utterly unfathomable despair through which I frequently contemplate ending it all".
Asked if he were put in their position would he protest, Farley replied firmly, "God yeah. I'd be laying into those UN bastards hammer and fist. I wouldn't even be willing to eat rice and corn once a year let alone live daily on the shit. Well maybe fried rice once a year".
While some argue that sufferers of starvation should be grateful for any food at all, millions like Farley across the globe have been won over by the harrowing news footage on the news of young starving African children pursing their lips and conveying disgust at what they were eating. One distressing clip showed a young kid spitting out an unidentifiable grey coloured item of food and promptly muttering an apparent expletive in his native tongue. Lipreading translators confirmed that the kid had said, "Jesus Christ what is that, Camel Crap!?" It is just one of many harrowing clips.
The impassioned outcry over food-aid blandness has even begun tugging the heart strings of major corporations. Chocolate manufacturers M&M/Mars last night stood up to be counted, pledging to send over ten million of their leftover easter eggs to hardest hit regions such as Malawi and Angola.
M&M/Mars Spokeswoman, Michelle Weese said, "Let it be known that we at Mars feel every person regardless of nationality or race deserves to work, rest, and play. By consuming our products once a day I believe the people of Africa can achieve this. Besides these Easter eggs are pretty close to expiration so it would be a shame to see all that chocolate go to waste. You don't make it in this business without caring for the chocolate you produce. Also I notice many of these famine victims have kind of chocolatey coloured skin so there's probably some marketing potential in there too. Could come up with a slogan like "Hey have you ever wanted to eat your skin? That's a nice angle". Weese then wrote this idea down in a small notepad marked "Ad ideas", she pulled from her pocket.
But what of the countries where these Easter Eggs will likely never reach - areas that lie helplessly outside the sphere of media interest? So long as the poor of these countries remain veiled by the long shadow of western ignorance, they will continue to receive food aid of utterly unspeakable banality.
Dredge Abatu is one such person. A Botswanian peasant farmer and father of 15 children, Dredge and his family will never see an Easter egg as Botswana did not make the M&M/Mars emergency-nations list. Yet his village is in turmoil following yet another year of sustained drought. He and his family have had to survive on rice and tasteless fibre-rich biscuits (Abatu claims that these "make digestives seem like jaffa cakes") provided by Concern for the past 6 months.
He wept, "I might as well not have taste buds. As hard as it is to accept eating such crap food, it's even harder to watch my children grow up in a world without artificial flavourings. Something must be done".
In a mischievously impassioned attempt to bring attention to the issue, satirical film maker, Morgan Spurlock, has just completed the filming of "Underwhelm Me" , a satirical swipe at institutional food-aid blandness that sees Spurlock live in the worst famine-hit areas of Niger for one month surviving solely on UN food-aid. Despite doctors strongly advising against it, Spurlock insisted, "it's a movie that had to be made".
The results Spurlock reveals, are "at times as shocking as they are hilarious". "There's one scene where a starving kid starts fighting with me over a bowl of yellow corn. The kid has no idea that I couldn't care less whether or not I eat his corn. That sort of footage is documentary gold".
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue these people want their message heard: Start sending those Easter Eggs.