Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Great Hospitality Brings Great Friendship

(Part 3 of a 3 part series on Hospitality)
You can see the rest of the series here: Part 1 & Part 2.
kids hanging out at my house
Kids hanging out at my house
"Tiavo ny namanao tohaka ny tenanao.” ~Malagasy Proverb
                  (Love you friend as yourself)

            One of my fondest memories of my time in Vondrozo was the friendships that I had.  Not just with my best friends at site or the kids that were always hanging out at my house, but with everyone. 
With the street vendor that sold bread on the corner, the group of people always sitting at the coffee vendor down the street, the fruit and vegetable vendors in the market, the restaurant and store owners in town, and everyone I would meet in between.  They were always happy to see me and I them.  They would great me with a smile on their face and often just a simple “Hello.  What’s new?,” but it created a sense of friendship between us.  To many of them, I assume, it was just reenacting a cultural norm; this culture of hospitality that is so ingrained in the Malagasy people.  Though, to me it was an immense sign of friendliness that I was not used in the United States.  We don’t greet everyone we pass in the States and to do so would be seen as awkward and weird, but here in Madagascar it’s a normality and not to do it would be seen as rude.  You love your friends and neighbors as yourself here in Madagascar and that creates great hospitality and great friendship. 
people talking in Vondrozo
People hanging out and talking in Vondrozo
 (You can read the rest of the series here: Part 1 & Part 2)