Sometime ago, I remarked food tastes a lot better if you share it with others.
When I was little, I always wondered why my grandmother would send small parcels of meat or fish
to new neighbors who had just moved in two blocks away. Why would she go out of her way in a
province so far from her own village to give away food that we could have easily kept for next week’s
supper? She shared what she had without any expectation of getting something in return. Several
months later, a child (or several children) would turn up at our door step with a small package with the
message: mum sent this for you. Ok. Who’s your mum? And where do you live? In many instances,
we did not know who his parents were because grandma gave away lot of food parcels. Life is richer
when you share.
Papua New Guineans have great difficulty eating alone. Food, no matter how small the portion, still has
to be shared. From an early age, we are taught to share everything we eat even if there is a lot. Eating
alone is boring. It’s not about how delicious or tasteless the food is. The act of sharing nourishes
relationships and builds new ones.
There’s an old saying that I must be able to see smoke (from cooking fires) from my neighbors’ house.
It means I can’t eat and be content knowing that my neighbor is hungry.
Those relationships that my parents and my grandparents built when I was a child still exist today. I find
help and a place to sleep in the most unlikely places and from the unlikeliest of people.
They built those relationships with a future generation in mind – my generation and my children’s
generation and those who will come after me.