There was a knock on the door one night about twenty-five years ago. I was the Lepled (pastor in training sort of) in Haisla village and this was not uncommon. But when I opened the door I was surprised. There stood a young man from the nearby town. With him was a tiny obviously cold young lady I did not know. Though she looked native she was certainly not local.
He reminded me that months before we had talked about a church worker who was coming from the Philippines and that I had agreed to put her up so she could see what Haisla village was like. With that he headed back to his car and left her with me and my family.
The next day we wandered around the village and she started to meet people. Walking through the village I would introduce her to others who were out and about. Always there was an invitation to visit and have some food and coffee. By the time we got home she was glad for the walking because it helped to settle all the food.
Next morning I went out to the front porch and found two rather large and very fresh salmon. The village was not about to have her eat too much ‘white man food’ just because I was a lousy fisherman. The Haisla knew that the way to make friends, show respect and create trust and love was to share time and table with people that just moments before were strangers.
I have had the privilege to travel a bit and get to know many different cultures. With the Haisla I remained for many years physically and always in my spirit. With others it was for a month here, a week there, a friendship or simply passing through. But always I have found the same truth, once time and table is shared a bond is formed.
Who knows, maybe we would have a lot less trouble in this world if we had a lot more shared meals?