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The slums of New Home City are no place for high heels, but that didn’t stop famously leggy heiress Dreffa Slanger from spending a whole week there last summer, helping local orphans scavenge for plastic and electronic components in the city’s recycling district.  Yesterday she returned to the Rumisht capital to receive a reward for her efforts:  the title of Qualtern Humanitarian of the Year.


‘This is so cool,’ said Slanger as she held aloft the award, a gold statue of the mythical winged angelmouse, said to whisper suggestions of good deeds into the ears of the wayward as they lie sleeping.  ‘When I visited New Home City last year, I did it to give something back, and to draw attention to the plight of the thousands of children who scrape a living from the leftovers of the more fortunate.  During my week here I saw deprivations of a kind I’d never imagined were still endured by people in the modern world.  But I also saw hope, and experienced laughter, and came away from the experience changed for the better.  Which had been my aim all along.  I also made friends for life, like my beautiful boy Surd here.’


Slanger then posed for pictures holding hands with a small, smiling boy with a sack of plastic bottles on his back, before making her way back to her hotel.  Afterwards our reporter spoke to the boy, who told us, ‘I’m not Surd.  He was my older cousin, but he died in the winter.  His lungs were rotten from working in the dump.  But I liked the lady, so I didn’t say anything.  She smelled nice, and one of the big strong men with her gave me fifty crowns [about five bar], so I’m going to buy cheeseburgers for all my friends tonight.’


This is the first time in living memory that the award has been given for good works carried out in Rumisht, but so far political reaction has been surprisingly muted given the longstanding differences between the Qualtern Republic and the holdout free state.  Perhaps some comfort is being taken from the fact that the awards dinner will not this year take place at the location of the winner’s good works, as is traditional, but at Banker’s Hall in Prestix.  ‘That’s not a political decision,’ explained Humanitarian Committee chair Dinny Tampster.  ‘We investigated the possibility of holding the dinner in New Home City, but the local chefs just weren’t up to it.’

Humanitarian of the Year announced