George Clooney was in for an unexpected culture shock during his recent trek through South Sudan - when a local woman "blessed" the Hollywood actor by spitting on his head and hands. Activist Clooney traveled to the region with U.S. newswoman Ann Curry earlier this month to raise awareness about a brewing conflict in the region, which will split the African nation in two.
The Southern Sudanese will vote for independence in January 2011 and that's likely to split Africa's largest country and prompt a north-south war - something Clooney and United Nations officials are keen to avoid. Clooney appeared with Curry on morning news program the "TODAY" show on Tuesday, October 12, when he recalled his interactions with the native Sudanese - including an unusual "blessing" by a local elder.
He laughs, "I was blessed. She was a grandmother of a friend of ours and she lives in a very tiny hut... and one of her blessings is she spits in both your hands and pulls you down and spits on your head, and I hadn't been blessed like that before... It was nice to be blessed, it felt good."
The trip wasn't Clooney's first to the Sudan - the movie star and his journalist father Nick visited Darfur in 2008 and shot a film chronicling the atrocities of genocide there for unaware Americans.