The Peace Corps is now ‘in bed’ with Mondelez International (aka Kraft Foods). This American multinational confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate, you know, junk food like Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Trident, Chiclets, (oh, dear, all my favorites) that has 100,000 employees around the world.
In a short piece yesterday on this blog, Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said, “this type of partnership represents the future of the Peace Corps: working in partnership with other organizations.”
Her remarks caused something of a minor reaction from RPCVs readers of our site and Carrie has been kind enough to respond to a few of my questions which I will post in the coming weeks.
Doing a tiny bit of research I found that the Mondelēz name came from a Kraft Foods employees at the time, Monde being French for world and delez an alternative to delicious.
However, Kraft Foods forgot to ask any of those ‘old fashioned’ Russian RPCVs’ what the word ‘Mondedlez’ really means.
According to reporter Kate MacArthur of Crain’s Chicago Businessthe word pronunciation, as expressed by Kraft in a press release, is “mohn-dah-LEEZ” which can sound similar to a Russian term used for oral sex.
“There is a rather vulgar word, ‘manda.’ [Mondelez] includes the sound of that word,” Irwin Weil, professor of Russian language, literature and music at Northwestern University, told MacArthur who went onto write, “the second half of the name roughly translates into the sex act, say Russian speakers.” Actually, oral sex!
The Huffington Post went onto confirm with a native Russian speaker that the phonetic description provided in the release refers to oral sex performed on a woman. The Russian speaker described the term as “really dirty.” He added that while it’s an old term not used frequently anymore, it would be understood by people in many countries of the former Soviet Union, not just in Russia.
Talk about cross culture misunderstanding!
I just want to know one thing: Who’s on top? The Peace Corps or Mondelez International?