Exchange Student Came Back With Extreme Weight Loss

When Jonathan McCullum left last summer to spend a school year as an exchange student in Egypt, little did he knew that he'd also undergo an extreme weight loss / starvation diet too!

Jonathan McCullum was in perfect health at 70kg (154 lb) when he left last summer to spend the school year as an exchange student in Egypt.

But when he returned home to Maine just four months later, the 1.75-metre teenager weighed a mere 44kg (97 lb) and was so weak that he struggled to carry his baggage or climb a flight of stairs. Doctors said he was at risk for a heart attack.

McCullum says he was denied sufficient food while staying with a family of Coptic Christians, who fast for more than 200 days a year, a regimen unmatched by other Christians.

The host family had a different take on what happened:

The host father, Shaker Hanna, rejected McCullum's story as "a lie," suggesting that he made it up because his parents were hoping to recover some of the money they paid for his stay as compensation.

"The truth is, the boy we hosted for nearly six months was eating for an hour and a half at every meal. The amount of food he ate at each meal was equal to six people," Hanna said.


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Ok, I was an AFS volunteer in Egypt When i Lived their and AFS laws doesn't force their students to stay in a specific family and they allow you to change your family if you don't like your family or if you where badly treated and this is not done by AFS Egypt only but this is an International AFS Law, which my brother changed his family during his year program in the USA. and McCullum could have asked AFS Egypt to change his family because they don't offer him food, which i think they would do in the same day if they had evidence and buying food in Alexandria is the easiest thing you can do and you can also buy all kind of food their. what i think is that McCullum is not saying the truth, also Egyptians are very kind people and most of the people visited can feel this and that means if your family don't offer you food you can eat at your friends home. and the funny thing is that no one starves in Alexandria or all Egypt even poor people. and i think if i were hosted in poor African Countries by a poor family which doesn't offer me food i can still eat and not starve.
McCullum: you should say the truth.
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Yeah, he ate all that food, and still somehow lost 1/3 his weight, and risked heart attack, just so his family could try to get some money from poor people in another country. That's logical.
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jandzmom has a very good point, that the whole point of going on exchange is about being independant and immersing yourself in a foreign culture. contact with home is discouraged and often difficult to achieve, and who wants to look like a spoiled american crying for mama?

leslie, where on can i find the article? i'd be really interested to hear another angle on the situation.
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What a dumbass.

Darwin was so close with this one.

Even a student should have enough COMMON SENSE to know how to feed himself.

And what type of a parent lets their "slow child" go off to a foreign land and NOT keep in touch - or give them enough money so that they could buy themselves food or fly home if they got stuck with a host family still living in the dark ages.
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