A Model of Hospitality and Story Sharing in Zambia by Martha J. Ritter

‘Hospitality should be at the heart of what children, families, and educators experience in schools’

At an assembly at St. Lawrence School in Lusaka, Zambia, a choir of 7th- and 8th-year students sang, “You’re in the right place, at the right time, with the right people and you won’t go back the same as you came.” The assembly was to welcome our group visiting the school from Northern Ireland and the United States. I know that I did not come back the same. I learned many things from the teachers and students, as well as from the Head of School, Sister Angela, but what I think of most often is the warm hospitality freely offered.

Hospitality should be at the heart of what children, families, and educators experience in schools. Further, I believe it is vital to include hospitality as a part of conversations and study in schools to support inclusive classroom communities.

In this article, I share creative responses supporting 4th-year students’ understanding of Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora, a book that exemplifies a deep sense of hospitality, and conclude by considering how a focus on hospitality contributes to global citizenship education. Often, we think of hospitality as something we expect in places of business, such as hotels and restaurants. We also might consider it as a right due to us because we are a citizen.

Though important, this does not describe the hospitality I experienced at St. Lawrence School. Philosopher Jacques Derrida distinguishes between conditional hospitality, as regulated by the rights, duties, and obligations of a citizen, and unconditional hospitality. Unconditional hospitality goes beyond duty and obligations....

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