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Life changing time in Cameroon for Mendham man

Max Condie

[Observer-Tribune] “Why not try the termites?” Max Condie was asked, as he stood by an open fire at an African orphanage last spring.

“They’re great fried,” he was told.

On another day the 2012 Mendham High School graduate was offered a roasted rat.

As recounted by Sister Barbara Jean of St. John Baptist in Mendham, food was a major challenge for Condie as he began a “gap year” with two and a half months in Cameroon after his graduation from Mendham High School.

“My life here in Mendham was too comfortable,” he said. “I wanted to spend some time in the third world.”

Condie turned for ideas to Sister Barbara Jean, his confirmation teacher at St. Mark’s Church in Mendham. She suggested he work with Good Shepherd Home, an orphanage that the Sisters of St. John Baptist in Mendham Township have helped to found and administer.

“The pieces fell into place,” Condie said.  “Before I knew it, I was hooked.  I wanted to go alone and live with the people, helping in any way that I could.”

Condie, who is headed to Rutgers University this fall, was invited to the orphanage by Sister Jane Mankaa, the Cameroonian founder of the home, and before he knew it, he had his shots and his passport and was ready to fly.