Rumble: The Theory of Relativity

Enrico sent me another story from the deep field:

As a Master’s student I often wondered about the possible applications of the theory of relativity. Fifteen years later, while sitting at my desk as the recently appointed head of our office in South Sudan, I had my revelation.
A young man came to me with a request for salary advance at the end of another day in the ‘deep field’: a day full of nuisances and challenges The form bore two signatures, which gave me a bit of reassurance that the request had gone through an initial screening process. I asked him for his name and what he did for WFP. The answer didn’t come immediately. I repeated my question for a second time and after one or two seconds of hesitation he uttered a few words in Dinka, the local language.
Being Italian, I had no difficulty in using my body language to make him understand to come back with an interpreter. So he did and I got his name and function. Which did not seem to match those on the form. So I asked the translator, one of the two signatories, why the name on the form was not the same name provided by the young man.
- “Well, because that’s his brother’s name”, the interpreter replied.
- “And where is his brother?” I queried.
- “He diseased a couple of months ago!”, he said.
- “This is not a family position”, I growled, “WFP only employs people through a selection process and based on competencies and relevant work experience.” “How was he hired?”, I enquired, still annoyed.
- “Well, he inherited his brother’s family so he took his brother’s job to maintain them.”
He certainly had a point, and I was about to mellow, but asked one more question:
- “What type of contract have you been given, my son?”
Without hesitation the interpreter offered the answer:
- “None!”
I closed my laptop and called it a day.

Picture courtesy Ulrik Pedersen


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