Generosity in Peru

by

By Amanda Richards
We had been invited for lunch at the  home of Guillermo’s parents-in-law who live in the upper hills of Cusco. Although I had not met them before, Ernistina and her husband were all smiles and welcomed us with hugs and kisses when we arrived.  They appeared very humble and live in a simple home.  Although spartan and with dirt  floors it was clean and comfortable. We sat down to eat and were served soup followed by a lamb stew. The food was delicious and the thing that struck me was that we were given what seemed to be the best meat and they went without any meat at all in their stew. I was a stranger and yet they gave the best of what they had.  It reminded me of being on a train in India when complete strangers who obvioulsy had very little, offered me their food and bought me chai, refusing to accept any payment from me.  There is still this idea that having guests is an honour and it makes me  wonder if this concept is being lost in our western culture.

After lunch we sat outside and again were given the ‘best’  as our chairs were placed in the little bit of sun that was shining in the courtyard. It was a gracious act.

‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give’
Winston Churchill

There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. ‘Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night’s lodging. ‘Tis better to be hospitable to his good meaning and thought, and give courage to a companion. We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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