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We Don’t Eat It Here

An editor telephones complete strangers outside the US, asking them to describe a typical Thanksgiving.

“As a South African, what do I think of American Thanksgiving? Is that where they eat the turkey?”

This is Janni Willem, 37, who lives in Durban, a city of 3.5 million people, the busiest port on the African continent. He has a thick, jolly voice that’s perfect for the phone, and is extraordinarily friendly considering I’m a total stranger who’s wasting his time. Still, he isn’t afraid to tell me how ridiculous I sound.

“Sorry, but it’s like this,” he explains. “I could ask you about the Indian festival of Diwali. The festival of light? But it’s not really relevant. Thanksgiving is the same for a South African. It has no relevance.”

Willem works at a call center for Power Legends, an electrical company based out of Perth, Australia, which is how I found him. “When your line doesn’t work you can call us for a fix,” he says about it. “Though usually the people who call me tend to be Australian, since, you know,... Continue Reading

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Nov 25
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