Recently, we were out for a walk and passed near a spot with a multi-generation picnic going on.

Because the women were wearing head scarves, we wished them a blessed Ramadan, which was coming soon. They waved us over to the tables and greeted us, and we made small talk with the children. They soon invited us to join them in eating. We tried to decline their generous offer, but without success. So we enjoyed chicken and turmeric rice, and got to know them.

They were two extended families, one from Saudi Arabia and one from Syria. The children went to the local schools, spoke English well and were full of enthusiasm for their classes, their teachers and sports. When we made the mistake of complimenting the women on the cooking, we were not only offered seconds, but a foil pan was filled with leftovers, which we were required to take with us.

What began as a short walk became an international feast and a lesson: We later learned that the family from Syria was in fact a refugee family being hosted in our community. How lucky we are to have such generous neighbors! We hope we can learn from their example.

— Jim Klagge and Kathy Carpenter, readers in Blacksburg

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