Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cultural Hospitality

We recently attended a wedding for the now “Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Kabika” in Francistown, Botswana. We had just traveled this 5 hour journey the weekend before for another friend’s wedding and the reception was being held in the same small village of Mundanyane. When the wedding was completed at the church we came out and noticed our tire was flat (or “punctured” as they say here) so we needed to get it fixed before all the tire places closed for the next 2 days, so between the wedding and reception we drove to get it repaired. This delayed our arrival at the reception, but we were certain of where we were going as you just drive to the village and when you see a big white tent  you know that is where the reception is being held. We pulled up and made our way to just outside the tent and a man started grabbing chairs for our family to have seats even kicking children out of seats so we the guests would have a place to sit. We noticed many people saying “Makoa” which means “white person” as we were walking in and found it a bit strange as we had just been at the wedding with them all. Everyone was eating, so the host asked us if we wanted food and we said we would love some. As I made my way to the buffet to help him get our family plates one of the girls with me stopped me in my tracks and said “that’s not the right bride and groom”. My jaw dropped!!! We had walked in and crashed someone else’s wedding reception. Everyone there at that reception knew we were at the wrong wedding but treated us with such honor in getting us seats and offering to feed us. Botswana culture is so giving and so kind that even though everyone knew we were in the wrong – they still wanted to make the guest happy. We all literally wanted to crawl out but all eyes were already on us, so through my huge embarrassment I had to let the host know we were at the wrong reception and he graciously smiled and walked us out.

Sometimes we all make mistakes, sometimes they are huge ones that everyone sees. Let us remember to be gracious and merciful as our Heavenly Father is to us everyday. We received a huge reminder of this that day as I am sure they are still talking about the “Makoa wedding crashers”.

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