The Blog

So what does ‘A Peace of Bread’ mean?

A while back, my mom and I were having dinner and discussing some of the lifestyle and cultural changes I will experience over the next year.  At the end of this conversation, my mom pondered what things would be analogous or even the same across cultures.  While I thought on my answer, my gaze drifted to my dinner plate and a thought came to me.

“Bread,” I told her.  “Everywhere has bread, doesn’t it?”

I couldn’t think of any place I had been or any cuisine I had eaten where bread had not been a part of a meal – from cornbread in the southern United States, to baguette in Paris, or mantou in China.  Bread is an item which crosses cultural, religious, and language boundaries and, despite differences in preparation and look from place to place, can be understood by most around the world.

But that’s what service as a Peace Corps volunteer is all about, isn’t it?  An exchange of cultural ideas that helps find the commonalities and bring understanding to the variations between us?  I am of the opinion that there are many things that, at their core, can be used to bring people together across cultural bounds despite the surface differences between them.  Like bread.