The Land of Hospitality


Village VisitBoys PlayingAmerica is known as “the land of the brave and the free.” Thailand advertises itself as being “the land of smiles.” Bangladesh, however, excels at being “the land of hospitality.”

A couple weeks ago, my husband was in town for meetings, so I joined some college-interns for a fun round of Dutch Blitz (of which I was the slowest player). At one point, Stefani asked if I’d ever been embarrassed (I wonder if, seeing how poorly I played, she thought I should be embarrassed.) I chuckled, and tried to remember a fine story to tell; I couldn’t remember a recent time I’ve been embarrassed.

Then Friday, after church, we all went visiting. One of Laura’s English students had invited her over, so I had us all clamber into a baby-taxi, and we went to the wrong house – totally wrong - a Hindu family we’d never met. They sweetly invited us in. They graciously served us a delicious snack, and though we apologized for the mistake, they urged us to come again. I took pictures of their kids, thanked them sincerely for the nice time, and waved goodbye.

We hopped back in the baby-taxi and headed to the “real” house. When we showed up, I apologized for coming so “late”, and they seemed truly surprised. Laura’s student was nowhere to be seen. They obviously weren’t expecting us. Even so, they seemed delighted to have us come. One brother climbed their coconut tree, cut open a green coconut, and served us the refreshing coconut-water with snacks. When the young man finally biked up, his mom whispered that we were there. He looked stunned, but immediately came in, sat, and carried on such a polite, kind conversation. Laura whispered to me that he wasn’t the student who had actually invited her over; he was the shy-est student in class. We left, but not before they’d invited us to come again – and a neighbor woman had pleaded with us to visit her too. I told her that, indeed, next time we would.

So Stefani asked if I’ve ever been embarrassed. I chuckle to think about it now. Actually we’re so continually in embarrassing situations, of our own doing, that I take it all in stride. Thankfully, so do the recipients.

-submitted by Shawne Ebersole