Bangladeshi hospitality: How do you compare?

Bangladesh made an impression on me – and it’s been a year since I visited the country.

But I still remember the taste of Bangladeshi tea served in a delicate cups and saucers every day around mid-afternoon. The elegance of women’s clothing, creating beauty in places that might otherwise be thought of as dismal.


But the one experience that made the biggest impression on me was the hospitality of the poor.

One such experience was in a home in the country’s capital of Dhaka. I walked through labyrinths of small walkways lined by open sewers to the home of a woman with four daughters. A double-sized bed took up most of the space in the one-room apartment and with clothes, boxes and pans overflowing in the corners.

And in the midst of what they didn’t have, they had plenty of warm smiles and attentiveness. They had love for each other. They exemplified God’s call for us to treat others better than ourselves. So often, living in wealthier countries, we miss understanding the uniqueness and value of people.

We get caught up in the glamour, status and other distractions that have nothing to do with God’s love and purpose for each of us. So let’s take a moment to learn something from the poor in Bangladesh. In their humbleness and need, many Bangladeshi in FH communities show each other love and respect so amazing, it’s worth taking note of.

Here is a checklist of three actions to see how your style of hospitality for peers and friends compares to the poor in Bangladesh.

1. Give your best: In the Dhaka home of the four daughters, even though the home was extremely poor, they didn’t let that deter them. They offered me 7 Up, which was an expensive drink for them. They didn’t know me or my companions, but they held nothing back. When you meet someone new or have people over, do you think of them as so special you want to give them your best?

2. Complete attentiveness: The four daughters and their mother had lots to do, like laundry or making dinner. But they choose to be completely focused on my colleagues and me, to let us know we were important to them. When you give people attention, is it 100 percent? Or do you allow yourself to be divided in your interactions making people feel like they should only get a fraction of your time?

3. Put others first: In the poor Dhaka home, it was hot. One woman had a hand fan, but instead of fanning herself— she began fanning me. It appeared that she saw my need and acted. When was the last time you were attentive enough to someone else that you acted in a way to make another more comfortable while you did without?

Food for the Hungry believes that when you partner with FH to help the poor, you’ll be transformed too. Through a relationship with the poor, you’ll experience basic values that so many of us miss like—the blessing and value of one another.

Please become a partner with FH and begin your journey with the poor to increase your understanding of God’s love.

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

, , , , , ,