Lucia has something to say

Saturday, February 03, 2007

An Honored Guest

I’ve never really thought of them as a whole before. All the times I’ve been an honored guest.

A co-worker just returned from Cameroon and Ghana. “Did you enjoy the dancing?” I asked. “What dancing?” “You know, the dancing at the center when you arrived. They weren’t out there with drums?” “No.” “Oh.”

In Cameroon, when I walked through an archway of flowers, this group was drumming and dancing, and I remember standing there and smiling. I loved the music, and at the same time I felt awkward to be the recipient of such attention.

I've been blessed with dances of welcome by Kenyan women, just back from a funeral of a friend who had died of AIDS. I've been honored by an entire school full of children, hundreds of them, in blue school uniforms coming out to sing me songs. I've had garlands of flowers strung around my neck in India and Bangladesh. I've met the first lady of East Timor and had a traditional tais (textile) placed on my shoulders.

When I entered a handmade paper center in Nepal last fall, a hundred artisans were lined up, each one with flowers to give to me. My arms were full and they spilled over. Abundance. And when I visited the school, the children gave me flowers as well.

I have been served fresh mangos and delicate fried leaves and meals that were spicy to my palate. I have been given the one spoon in the house to use to eat. I have been given gifts beyond measure.

We hold our things so close. As if there is a shortage. And people who to us have very little, share what they have. This is profound lesson. This is what it is to be generous.

21 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

Oh yes, I've been there too. It's a delight, but at the same time it can be quite humbling. One of the strangest things I brought home from my last trip is a horse tail with a handle that's used to chase flies away. It was the generous gift of a new friend in Ethiopia. I also have a beautiful beaded necklace from a visit to a Maassai village in Kenya.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Thailand Gal said...

I agree completely. That is one of the lessons I learned in Thailand and have tried to carry on that tradition here. It really does make life so much better.


Peace,

~Chani

8:05 PM  
Blogger meno said...

I find myself touched by this post. Generosity seems sadly a lost art here.

I would feel so honored.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

It seems the less someone has, the more they have connections to other people. What is it about possessions that disconnects us from others?

11:49 PM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

Thanks Lucia, for reminding me of this. I'm definitely caught up in the material world at times; I need to remember it's not real.


People and relationships are what is real.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I agree its an art we are losing. Even the simple act of offering a hot drink to a guest who comes to call, or just giving someone a smile whether we know them or not.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Bobealia... said...

Sounds wonderful and overwhelming.

2:36 PM  
Blogger jen said...

this is also what it means to be so tremendously blessed on this earth to walk amongst such beauty.

and you bring that beauty too.

4:33 PM  
Blogger kat said...

I love when you share photos and show us what you see because the only time I get a welcoming like what you've described is when I am going from Jurrasic Park to Toon Land at Islands of Adventure.

This all sounds amazing and the pictures help me to imagine it happening even more!

4:53 PM  
Blogger Potato Print said...

Hi Lucia,

This is the most beautiful post I've read in quite a while. I love the way you avoid the "Exotic Natives" style of travel. You portray people as people. I've always been allergic to that notion of the exotic. These welcoming gestures are lovely.

Also, by the way, I hope you are able to come to the "Just Be" retreat in October. Let me know if you want to know more.

8:12 PM  
Blogger mjd said...

Thank you for the lesson. I have not been to those places, but I have been lucky enough to see that kind of smile and blessed to see such gracious faces. I guess that we need to take the time to notice.

I am visiting from Tink at Pickled Beef. I am glad that I stopped by.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Sanjay said...

And people who to us have very little, share what they have. This is profound lesson. This is what it is to be generous.

Thats so true and everything you said, having experienced this I can attest. Thank you. :)

8:10 AM  
Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

There's too little dancing in America...too little dancing and not enough joy at new faces.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Susan as herself said...

I have seen examples of this pure form of generosity time and time again. Why does it always seem as though those that have the least are willing to give the most?

One of the world's human mysteries. But it is alive and well everywhere I've been---and most notably right here in the USA. I have noticed that those people whith the least to share or contribute do so most freely, while those that seem to have endless resources hold back.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Steven Novak said...

Man, you lead an interesting life.

Steve~

2:14 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

what an immensely important post, you stole my breath

8:46 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Lucia, great post.

In travelling the world, I have found that those who have the least seem to be most generous with the little they have -- and the most appreciative for having what they have.

Amazing.

8:48 PM  
Blogger QT said...

Love this post so much and what you say is true. Why do we cling to our "things" when sharing them would make them mean so much more?

10:44 PM  
Blogger Citymouse said...

as you know, you are lucky woman

11:27 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

Beautiful... and so RIGHT. Those things are the real gifts of life. I forget that too often.

3:20 PM  
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