Humbling Gifts

One very fascinating thing about the Mongolian people is their gift-giving. When someone gets an award, or wins a trophy, or gets married, or has a funeral in their family, they give presents. They, the people who received an award, or won, or got married, or are arranging the funeral, give presents.

In one way it’s as if they are saying, “I am glad you are here, sharing this with me,” while also saying, “I have been very fortunate in this life and would like to give back something to say ‘thank you’ to you, my friends and family.” I think it is a beautiful gesture and I have been surprised by it again and again. When I left for America in May I was treated like everyone else when they go on a long trip - everyone chipped in together, dozens of people in my department, and gave me presents and money to wish me a safe journey.

It is very much like the old woman in the bible story who gives even though she doesn’t have much. It’s been a very humbling experience for me, coming from a place where people have a great deal and still feel like they would like to have more. Here people have little, but still give it away.