Thinking of this phrase, takes me back to the experience when I was a small boy running and playing around my village. There were no borders among houses. Everybody knew each other and were welcoming one another. Houses were mostly made of wood and bamboos with open doors, where everyone could come and have a cup of coffee. Greeting one another is common among people even for those who are just passing by in front of your house. I like to look back to those memories when I could easily go to my neighbor’s house playing and chatting. We consider everyone as family.
Over the last years things have slowly changed: Now, there are only a few doors open. Children are no longer playing as much as before. Everything has its limit. Every newcomer to the community is being questioned about his background negative news you might have heard. People are scared to welcome anyone who is coming to their house. Walls are built for protection. Why am I telling you this story? I was raised in a family where my parents used to tell us to respect anyone and welcome everyone. A custom of warm welcome is part of my life that I have learned from my own family.
We are all strangers in this world. We are not the owner but merely a character of this world. This means we need to share with each other. There should be no closed doors but open arms to welcome anyone on this beautiful mother earth. The sad story, as we all know is, that there are thousands of people dying everyday just to cross the border of a country seeking for a better life. I know some of us may disagree with me for some reasons on how people close their door to prevent people to come into their community. It could be security issues, economic or political ones. This is a call to start welcoming each other again and treat everyone like family.
I can imagine how beautiful this world would be if there is no “you” or “me” – but “we.”
I consider myself as a stranger too in Bali. Coming from Flores with the majority of the population being Catholic, I feel being an outsider living on an island where Hindu is the main religion. One thing that makes me feel at home though is, first and foremost, the attitude that I have kept in myself which is to welcome the culture and the people where I live. I live with the value of sharing and caring for people. Mutual acceptance comes when there is openness and willingness to share our differences. At this point we might enrich each other and by having a better understanding of one another, we might live together as brother and sister of one family on earth. I can imagine how beautiful this world would be if there is no “you” or “me” – but “we.”
Working here at Dojo made me realize the importance of a warm welcome. There are a lot of people going in and out of the space every single day. As part of the Dojo team, I am here to welcome everyone and provide them with the service needed. Every single person that comes to Dojo is meant to be welcomed. They might come with one reason or the other. They could be a regular member, a new member or even a passerby who is asking for information. Welcoming is an attitude that we must have as a social being. It is an act of openness and acceptance towards one another. I bring with me this value wherever I go and that is what I am doing while working at Dojo. Along the way, I feel one with Dojo and all the people who live in it. We become part of each other as what we call “Dojo Family.” As most of Dojo’s visitors are nomads, I believe that anywhere they are going, they are looking for a home. Home where one can rest, work and being welcomed. Home where people are meant to be welcomed like our own brother and sister. We are here at Dojo trying to make everyone feel at home.
One night while I was working at Dojo, a girl came with a taxi desperately looking for a homestay that she has booked before she boarded a plane from Canada. It was about 3am when the taxi driver approached me and asked to host her for the night. With a great disappointment, she told me what has happened. She booked online a homestay in Canggu and found out that the address didn’t exist. I was trying to call the contact number of the place but weren’t able to reach anyone. Her family back home was concerned about her situation since they heard that she could not find a place to stay. I calmed her down and ensured her that I would find a new place for her to stay.
After finishing my worked at Dojo, I looked for a new place for her to stay as I have promised. I was so happy that I was able to help her. I imagine myself in her situation, knowing that you were cheated in a foreign land, desperately looking for help. Since then, I was never in contact with her again. Then, months later, I found a present from Canada on my work table. At first, I couldn’t believe it since I don’t have any friends in Canada. It was a bottle of Maple Syrup and a card. I was so moved because we were never in contact since the day l brought her to the new homestay.
Dojo is the place where everyone feels part of “our” family.
I don’t mean to tell this story so that people may think I have done something heroic. It’s simply an act of caring and love to everyone as a social being. If everyone would feel responsible to each other than there will be no strangers in this world. Dojo is the place where everyone feels part of “our” family. This is the place where we try to make everyone feel at home and welcome each other in a very special way.
Let us make Dojo a new home for everyone. This can happen by our willingness to break all the walls that separate us from each another. Let me phrase it that way: A stranger is not an enemy but a friend that needs to be welcomed. A house is alive when there is no closed door. Dojo is alive because of the vitality of the people who live inside of it: Vitality that makes us be more productive and feel enriched. “When I am a stranger and you welcomed me” is the mindset I wish that every Dojo member should keep in their heart.