…I walk out of the house just to have my hand immediately intertwined with someone else’s, and looking into a little friend’s eyes I am led to his house and greeted warmly by his mother and her sisters, and a dozen cousins and siblings of his who welcome me in as an old friend.
…my scraped knee gets more genuine concern in a day than I’ve handed out all week.
…I lose track of how many chairs are brought out for me while the hard working women either stand or move to an overturned bucket.
…we laugh together as I am asked to braid Nashka’s hair and surprisingly deliver (after her five-year-old resistance paired with her adult-like “You don’t know how to braid, you are white!” – and after her aunt helps me with the first one).
…I get to hear jokes – and the explanations behind them when I’m clearly lost like the foreigner I am.
…neighbors pass when I am visiting another house and they greet both Sian and I by name in this community that is slowly becoming one I call my own.
…hospitality humbles me as I am offered more food than I can take, in multiple homes I go to throughout the day.
Some days I come home astounded by how small minded I am in my resistance and fears to go out. Some days I both grow from learning and learn I have so much more growing to do. Some days I come home worn from laughing and being loved through a natural, effortless hospitality and community that is the very DNA here. Some days I think that these people may be some of the warmest I know. Some days I close the door to my room, a dozen different mother’s smiling faces and warm voices from throughout the day in my head, and just think of the riches there are to find in the natural way that life is done here. And I am humbled, I am aware of how human (and American) I am, and I pray that I don’t lose sight of these days when the fear tries to creep back in.