Pictured: my favorite dog and 2 year old. They share breakfast every morning. The dog is just waiting for another bite to eat. This little girl loves this dog. If any other dog tries to get close to her during breakfast time, she cries.
This…. Is a culture of sharing. Sharing food, moments, and gossip. I knew this coming into Timor, but I didn’t know how terrible I was at sharing.
Everyone here shares until they have nothing left. Which is so sweet, but also hard to remember.
A perfect example happened as I was walking home today. A friend of mine was eatting a bag of chips, she only had a few chips left, and she urged me to have some. A common greeting, if a person is eating, is “Mana, Han!” or, “Sister, come eat with me!”.
I always thought that this was just a sweet gesture, and appreciated the kindness. I didn’t really believe how real the culture of sharing was, until I was on the other side of it.
One day, I was hanging out with a volunteer in my group, and a volunteer from the group before. We wanted to go and buy a chocolate milk, so we went to ask our family if we could go to the kiosk. As we were leaving, the other volunteer said that our family asked if we were going to share, or not. She said she didn’t know. As we walked to the kiosk, the volunteer advised that we get enough chocolate milks for everyone, otherwise we will be considered stingy.
Then it hit me. The culture of sharing. People will literally share everything here, because items and food are just things, the moment of sharing a chocolate milk, or a chip, is important. You bond. A chocolate milk will give you a few seconds of enjoyment, but sitting with friends and family while drinking a chocolate milk will be a memory made.
Thank you, Timor, for sharing your culture with me.