By Brett Briard
Last summer, I spent 18 days in
The first adventure of the night was finding the house we were to have dinner at. We were speeding through the balmy air on what seemed like the only paved road in
So finally we had reached the house. We were greeted by smiling faces and the smell of cooking. I was slightly apprehensive about the food, but it smelled good enough and I figured Sela wouldn’t let me eat anything that might get me sick. At this point, it’s probably important to describe the house. This is one of the better off families I’ve seen, but it’s tiny by our standards. To my surprise, I learn that it’s occupied by seven people. They had a little cooking fire going, and there were dogs and chickens running around everywhere. At this point, I’m really starting to appreciate my big air-conditioned house, with running water and electricity. Despite not having all these comforts we may see as necessities, the family looked as happy as can be. Like most middle-class Americans, I usually find myself worrying about keeping up with newest trend and having the latest and greatest, but these people seemed content to just have each other. Seriously, I rarely saw any facial expression other than a smile the entire night.
The dinner itself was a real cultural eye opener. It seemed like I was the guest of honor, I guess it’s not every day an American comes to dinner. I was sat at the head of the table and was served first. It seemed to me like half of the food was piled on my plate. I felt kind of bad, not wanting to eat all their food, but at the same time I was terrified of somehow insulting my host by refusing anything. Also, it felt weird to be the youngest one at the table, and yet get all this special attention. One of the men even stayed home from work to come to the dinner! As the night wore on, not only was I struggling to finish all of my food, but my bladder was about to burst as I was served my third fresh coconut to drink. I didn’t see a bathroom and, and for some reason I felt a little awkward in asking. So, I just decided to wait until I returned to my hotel. Despite my slight discomfort, I really enjoyed watching the family talk and laugh. Of course, I had no idea what they were saying, but it was fun to just watch them have a good time. They really reminded of how important my friends and family are, and actually made me quite homesick.
My trip to