Camel on a Stick
Episode 4 of Little America season 2 starts with us introduced to restauranteur Jibril. His dishes are quite the treat but he has trouble encouraging people to buy into his brand – especially as it’s camel meat. After hustling and heading to all the different radio stations in town… he pitches his new idea. It’s camel on a stick and he’ll be heading to the local fair to give them out to hungry customers.
When he finishes, Jibril is faced with his first big challenge. He’s got 24 hours to cook 8000 pounds of camel… but the meat has been delayed en-route. The truck has broken down en-route, stranded somewhere called Moorhead.
Without much of a choice, Jibril puts all of his faith in other people. He helps out his friend Geesi by playing as a striker in the big football game that night. After, his phone rings. It’s Sammy. He needs money from Geesi to pay the driver, who’s en-route within the hour with the camel meat.
Each of the workers take it in turns to put on their tunes, helping to raise morale while they work tirelessly all night long to get the meat ready for the fair. Unfortunately, everything goes awry when the fire alarm goes off; smoke billows from one of the ovens and the sprinklers go off. The meat is covered up but Jibril is hurt – both physically and emotionally – in the process.
Jibril has never stopped running, having escaped from the Somali war when he was 9 and continuing to work tirelessly ever since. The frenetic pace that this episode adopts shows that beautifully. Jibril sits with his old restaurant rival across the street, Mohamed, who reminds him he’s got close to making it but hasn’t quite got there. Eventually Jibril convinces him to let them use their kitchen to finish the prep work and get everything ready for the fair.
The big day arrives and the Camel-on-a-stick is a success. People love the meat and as day turns to night, Jibril continues to work but finds himself struggling to remain conscious. In fact, he passes out and collapses on the floor that night, partly from exhaustion but also from the nasty bruises across his ribs.
When Jibril awakens, he finds himself with the medic. His ribs are looking awful but he wants to get back to his booth. But he doesn’t need to, they’ve completely sold out!
As a result, the restaurant is a smash hit and new customers head on in. Jibril is even somewhat of a celebrity in town too. However, he never forgets his roots and in fact, spends a lot more time with the gang cross the road, playing dominos and deciding to slow down a little while embracing his Somali heritage.
As we soon find out, Jibril continued to popularize Somali cuisine after the episode fades to black. He even helped open the first Somali restaurant in New York. In 2015, it was named the Best African Restaurant by The New York Times, with the camel burger becoming his signature dish.
The Episode Review
It’s all about the hustle; this episode of Little America exemplifies that beautifully and if you’ve ever been fully invested in a project and desperate to get to work, putting absolutely everything into it, you’ll know how Jibril feels in this episode. As someone who still puts in 14+ hour shifts to work on TheReviewGeek, when you really believe in something, sleep feels like a distraction. Of course, there is a fine balance here and if you don’t force yourself to slow down, you can make yourself ill. Again, speaking from experience here!
Seeing Jibril’s journey is certainly inspiring and it’s great to see that all that hard work pays off for him.