Thanks NIXin but I couldn't get the debian binary to launch:
[root@kindle root]# cd /mnt/us/sinb
[root@kindle sinb]# ls
[root@kindle sinb]# ./shellinabox
./shellinabox: line 1: syntax error: newline unexpected
And I am at loss to cross compile... Also I think that mc (which is ncurses based) expects a vt320 or an xterm terminfo...