Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Fun

Every year at this time, employees of SIL-Burkina Faso receive a Christmas card with the equivalent of about $20 in cash in it. This might not sound like a lot to a North American, but it is a significant amount to the average Burkinabè worker. As the Administrative Services Director and I prepared these for distribution, we hatched a plan to have some fun in the affair!

In the envelope of a number of strategically chosen employees (those we suspected would react in an interesting manner), instead of cash, we placed the following note (which I’ve translated from French here):

“The Minister of Social Services thanks you for having decided to voluntarily donate your annual Christmas gift of 10,000 F CFA to the victims of this past September’s disastrous flood.”

As you can imagine, we had reactions alright! A few were relatively mild, with people coming back into the office wearing puzzled expressions. Others were more vocal, like that of our Centre Hostess who called me from her office: “Hello? Is this the Minister of Social Services? I’m afraid there’s been some kind of mistake here!” Haha, we could both hardly talk for laughing!

And then there was the lady from the computer department. She came into my office already giggling. When I tried to hand her the envelope with her card and gift, she refused to take it, asking me to open it for her! Of course, I refused, saying that it was hers and I couldn’t open it. I finally convinced her, amid much laughter, to take it and sign for it. As she was signing, I asked her why she was so hesitant to take it. Did she suspect me of something? She was giggling so much that she couldn’t answer. As she was leaving, I asked if she wasn’t going to open the envelope to make sure that what she had signed for was in there. So she did.

The funny part about this is that her envelope is one of those that we did not tamper with! But someone had let the cat out of the bag to her about what was going on and she assumed the same would happen to her. We both ended up having a good laugh about it all.

Now we have to start thinking about what we’re going to do next year...


Laura Dun said...

Gave me a laugh too, Mike :-). Greet folk for me, including said lady in the computer dept! Nice one.

Mike Steinborn said...

Okay, Laura, I'll do that :)