Hospitality is seen differently in around the world. Someone from the United States may see hospitality as the willingness to treat someone as an equal and provide for their needs within their home. Different cultures and countries see hospitality in many different ways.
During my time in Oman I experienced a wide range of what an Omani would view as hospitality. I encountered a different version of hospitality than I could have even thought of. I was blessed to see people going very far out of their way to provide food and any comfort that I needed. We lived in a beautiful town called Ibri. The bus was our main mode of transportation between our apartment and the school we attended. This little bus was driven by one of the nicest and friendliest people I have met. His name was Mahmoud.
Mahmoud picked our group up everyday with a friendly smile. He would make sure to greet every person who boarded the bus and say goodbye to everyone who left. He always made sure that our group was safe and on time. After about two weeks of school and being brought back and forth by Mahmoud, our entire group was invited to his family’s house for a traditional Omani dinner. This was not just a simple home cooked meal provided to the ten or so members of our group, this was the full Omani array of delicious food.
We were served coffee, dates, fruit, soup, as well as with anything else we could ask for. Being invited to someone’s house after such a short period of time knowing him or her and having them cook for so many is not nearly as common in the United States. It is not common to be invited over to one’s house and served a full dinner just for the mere fact that they were somewhat familiar with you. In a place like Oman though, it is customary. I was treated like family to these wonderful people and they asked for nothing in return.
Written by Douglas Nemets. Doug is a Senior International Relations Major + Middle Eastern Studies Minor. He studied abroad in Ibri, Oman.