Last Saturday, my sister-in-law and HPH Communications and Accounts Manager, Emily and I had the privilege of having six women in her home for a Sip ‘n’ Shop event. We used this opportunity as a chance to share with the women about the organization and our recent trip to Rwanda.
As we prepared for the event, we both felt a little bit anxious about hosting (stemming from both not knowing all the women with whom we’d be sharing and having the women in the home for the first time.)
We talked a little bit about this and thought back to something that had happened on our one of our many home visits and interviews during the trip which were used as a way to connect with some of the women beyond the large group settings. During one of the Bugumira visits, an artisan’s husband inquired at the end of the interview as to why we had wanted to visit his home.
Our Director, Becca, then explained to him that the group simply wanted to know and understand the women better as well as see where they lived. The man had sort of smiled. It turns out that home visits aren’t really something that anyone does on the islands. Neighbors and friends don’t go to each other’s homes.
An artisan from Bugumira poses with her family outside of her home after giving an interview. She welcomed us in with open arms and shared what the cooperative programs have done for her.
We wondered why this was the case. But after some thinking, we figured it’s probably the exact same reason that we don’t always host our neighbors in the states. We are afraid that if our home doesn’t look like it was literally pulled from the pages of HGTV magazine or we aren’t sufficiently entertaining or interesting company that we are inferior and unequipped to welcome others into our lives.
Society’s ideals and lies that we believe prevent us from enjoying the community that we were designed to experience. The crazy thing is that, when you do step out of your comfort zone and invite your neighbors into your home, and into your life, you experience joy.
Have you ever gone to someone’s home, who was pouring out their heart to make you feel welcome, and thought, “hmm, if only they had some better accent pillows I’d really feel loved…” Of course not.
People feel loved when you notice them and are willing to let them into your life.
The Sip ‘n’ Shop was truly so much fun. The women were excited to hear the how the women’s lives in our cooperatives are being changed and were excited to simply enjoy each other’s company. Most importantly, our pre-hosting anxiety was unneeded.
I think that it’s interesting that this is a fear shared across cultures, but I also think it’s a barrier that needs to be broken down. Focus more on the loving act, less on the extras, and community will fall into place.
Written July 20, 2017