The term ‘starving students’ took on a whole new meaning during a recent exchange to Egypt for one American teenager. Jonathon McCallum, once a healthy 155 lbs, recently returned home to his family–or, at least half of him did–weighing only 97 lbs after spending a school semester with a family in Egypt. So weak that climbing stairs and carrying baggage were a struggle, McCallum’s emaciated appearance stunned friends and family members in Maine when he returned home recently.
What’s the reason behind the dramatic change? McCallum’s host family. Practicing Coptic Christians, they traditionally fast for 200 days out of the year, and when they weren’t fasting, they doled out only meager portions of food to their charge. Although classmates urged McCallum to request a new host family, the 17-year-old was determined to stick it out.
However, McCallum’s host father, Shaker Hanna, is denying the teenagers claims, calling them a lie. He goes on to say, “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.” Right. Because this looks like the body of someone who eats like a pig.