Hospitality in Kuwait
“When I’m leaving Kuwait the last time that I went, I brought my wife along with me to introduce her to some of the officers I’d been working with. ‘Cause these guys, they were really great guys, and they had fed me and taken such good care of me. And so I took her from Doha down with me, and we met each officer. And they were giving me gifts and I brought each of them a gift. As my wife and I were with my last friend, we’re drinking tea, we drank tea at every single other officer’s office, and we’re drinking tea. And my wife looks at her teacup when she first is handed it, and it was a little bit different than the other teacups we were drinking of. It wasn’t a clear one, it was just a little porcelain. Nothing I didn’t think that fancy. But, she looks at it, and he [asked] her, my friend [asked] her, ‘What’s wrong with your teacup?’ And she says, ‘Nothing, it’s just very pretty, and I was admiring it.’ And he calls this guy in, whispers something into his ear, and [the guy] leaves. My wife and I talk for about 10 more minutes, and then I tell them, ‘I’ve got to get going. I have to get ready to catch a plane.’ And he says, ‘No, no, you must stay, you must stay a little bit longer, one more cup of tea.’ ‘OK, we’ll have one more cup of tea.’ And as we’re drinking this last cup and talking, his contractor, the dude that provides everything that he needs to exist that day, comes back in with a package. And it’s actually gift wrapped. And then, as we get up to leave he hands it to my wife and he says, ‘You must take these with you.’ And in this package was a large, I guess it was brass, bronze, tea pot, and then, I think it was about 12 little teacups just like what she was drinking out of. And it was really awesome, and my wife, she was just, fell in love with the guy after that. He was just a great guy. And that’s the kind of guy, the Kuwaitis that I worked with, that’s kind of the way they were."
In this video, a retired Army major discusses the culture of gift giving.