Desert Hospitality

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the people in the desert city and nearby villages that we visited last week were amazingly hospitable and friendly.  As we walked around the neighbourhoods, we were often invited in to relax, get out of the heat and have some refreshments.  We even got invited to a circumcision party that was going to be taking place that evening!  People in this area highly value hospitality and feel honoured to have guests in their home.  We drank a lot of tea, water and ate a lot (a LOT :)) of melon in the homes we visited, but we felt warmly welcomed everywhere we went.  It was quite an experience.  It made me think about North America, maybe the west in general, and how much we have lost that art of hospitality.  We seem to be governed by fear more than hospitality.  I have to admit I am as guilty of that as anyone…especially when you have children…you feel you have a responsibility to protect your family from the unknown, and you hear so many horror stories, that you feel like you should not invite strangers into your home…that it would be unsafe, stupid even.  But in this place, that is never in people’s minds.  They are not worried that you might be a serial killer or kidnapper.  They just want to have the honour of having you in their home and showing you kindness and generosity.  It is part of their culture.  Part of their upbringing, their DNA, so to speak.  To NOT show hospitality would be to go against everything they know, everything that they ARE.  It has been a lesson to me.  A challenge to me.  To go beyond my comfort zone and live more hospitably, to not be governed by fear.

What do you think?  Do you think we have lost the art of hospitality in the West?  Do you reach out to strangers?  Would you?  Have you?  What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear…

Here are some of the images of people we met and interacted with in our desert city…

Thank you to all the wonderful people who so warmly welcomed us!


4 comments on “Desert Hospitality

  1. Beautiful thoughts and photos to accompany. May I ask which country is this?

    You’re correct about how we’ve replaced hospitality with fear. But not all of us, though. I recently came back from my third trip to Bombay Beach, a small, almost deserted town on the shore of Salton Sea. Not everyone would invite me into their homes but the locals are friendly and few of them did invite me in to their home; even to stay for a few days.

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your beautiful documentary photos. I really enjoy reading your blog.



  2. Nice portraits. And yes, sad but true – to find this degree of relaxed, genuine hospitality from strangers one generally has to leave ‘the West’ (in my case, western Europe).

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