Many times when we receive news that we are expecting guests, we worry about time, finances or convenience. In our busy lives, visitors can sometimes be an inconvenience or a financial challenge, as we focus so much on putting on a show and providing entertainment which we feel can only be done through excessive financial spending. It is so easy to get caught up with all of this that we forget the true meaning of welcoming family and friends into our homes.
This weekend we spent two days and a night in the rural village of Lawlet, and learned a thing or two about welcoming guests. The families there made me understand that showing kindness and love did not come with a high price tag. Many of the families in the village do not have much money, which is evident in their appearances and their homes. But this did not stop them from being fantastic hosts.
We may not have been eating expensive meals or staying in 5-star hotels, but the hospitality we received could not have been any better. The food we ate was coated with love, by a community of women who came together to make sure we received the best. Everything that was done was a group effort, no matter who’s house we visited there was evidence of a true community spirit.
At night we were split into pairs and taken to our host families where we spent the night. There was an out-pour of welcoming, from the eldest member of the family to the youngest. We were treated like a member of a the family… what was theirs was now ours; if we needed something they would provide. We became so much a part of the family that we got told off by the grandmother of the family for not drinking all of our tea!
As I sat and observed the joy and family dynamics, I realised that this is what it really means to receive and welcome someone into your home and family with a genuine heart. For me it was the community welcome, the laughter, the well wishes, the sharing, the hospitality and so much more that made being among them enjoyable. Besides leaving with a full stomach, a good night’s rest, many new friends…I also left with the true meaning of ‘Karibu’.
Written By Tameka Nanton, 2013 Fellow