Monday, January 11, 2010

Hospitality from Poverty- Part 1

Here is an excerpt from a book I recently read concerning hospitality- -

"After returning to Zambia from a visit in the United States, we were delighted by the visits of Zambian friends who came to welcome us back and welcome our new baby.

As we played with each other's babies, I noticed with pain how tiny their little Linda was. At a year, she was only a little heavier than our three-month old Frieda. I thought of their other children. They once had four, but two had died from diarrhea.
After a while our friend Lenty signaled to his wife and with a smile she handed us a basket. Looking in, I saw a heap of small Irish potatoes and what looked some plastic trash. I exclaimed with real gratitude about the potatoes, knowing the sacrifice they must have made to find this special treat for their potato-loving white friends.

Lenty leaned forward and picked up the plastic. Holding it out to me with pleasure and dignity, he said, "This is for your baby." My eyes refocused and I saw with a jolt what he was giving her: two little clear plastic glasses and two lovely flat plastic dishes. I thanked him with all the grace I could muster, hoping he had not noticed my lack of composure.

Later, I fought tears as I sat holding those little disposable dishes with "Zambia Airways" inscribed on the bottoms. Why is our world so ordered that people with several sets of dishes constantly discard mountains of containers after a single use? And those who would be pleased to carefully wash and reuse the disposables come upon them so rarely that they treat them as treasures?

- Lynda Meiser, former missionary to Zambia

From the book "Extending the Table"

"Lord, to those who hunger, give bread.

And to those who have bread, give the hunger for justice."- Central American Prayer