Myself and two women from our group of visiting college students are seated in the shack of one of the lay pastors in the Mesagrande refugee camp in Honduras. We listen to his story while chickens and children play in the dirt of the floor around us and his wife cooks over a simple stove. As we near the end of the conversation, our brother announces that his wife is fixing something for us to eat.
Our stomachs have been taking quite a beating lately and just the thought of food makes us nauseous. We discuss our dilemma together quietly in English. Of course we have in our mind’s eye what the food is going to be and we just cannot handle any more beans and rice. One of my companions is especially worried and I think she has decided to refuse the food. For myself I do not see any way out except to eat the food, hope that I do not throw up, and that I get it down with at least some semblance of appreciation on my face.
Then the Señora places before us three steaming mugs of oatmeal. All of our fears are quickly forgotten as we drink down the sweet delicious liquid. I feel stupid for even worrying in the first place. I am humbled before the incredible ministry of hospitality by a people with so much less than me giving out of their need what amounts to probably a week’s ration of oatmeal.
Fear could have kept us from participating in this beautiful and moving experience. I guess it goes to show what can happen if we allow our preconceptions and fears to rule us, especially in a cross-cultural situation.
Excerpt from a college paper 1989