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In Ethiopia, the concept of hospitality is very important. Actually, it was important to such an extent, that each family had a special house (Gojo) for guests only.
What were the preparations like when you invited relatives to stay in your home?
First of all, a dess (sukkah) was built for the guests. In addition, a lamb was prepared at least a week before the arrival of the guests and a sheep or goat were slaughtered.
On the day the guests arrived, everyone (even the children) would go out to meet them with donkeys that were used to carry the guests' belongings. Because the guests were very tired from their journey, everyone would go out to meet them and help and for the younger members of the family this was an important task.
As soon as the guests arrive, everyone goes to meet them, kiss them and welcome them. Immediately their feet are washed. The whole night is dedicated to games, stories and hearing about the guests, what is new in their village, how are the people there, how their livelihood is doing (fields, cows) and village life in general.
On the final day of their visit, before they return to their village, usually they leave as early as possible to avoid the hottest hours. Of course before they depart, they drink and eat. All the neighbours join in accompanying the guests and everyone help to carry the belongings. This escort is very emotional. This lasts at least an hour and always some people cry when it comes to an end.
What is the relationship between your hospitality and that of Abraham and Sara?
There are times where father would go looking for guests in order to bring them home. Several times a year, people from other villages would come to our village to gather and talk about various matters. Also at holy days such as Sagid, many people would travel to our village and at these times father would go to bring guests to our home.
When father would gather a large group of guests, the neighbours would simply grab them from him on the way so that they too will have the honour of hosting guests in their home. Sometimes father would succeed in bringing two or three guests, and in these cases the occasion was amazing. At night, we encouraged each of the guests to tell us their life story. While the guests would talk, we would enjoy every word, and in this way we were privileged to meet people who otherwise would never have touched our lives.
Of course we would always host them in the best possible way and accompany them the next day.