Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mutli-Cultural Exchange

The other day, I was sitting around talking with a bunch of friends. We were having a staunch debate on religion and politics and sharing our individual insights. During this conversation, it dawned on us that no two people in the room were the same. Now, this may seem obvious but I mean this on a much more deliberate level. When we looked around the room, no two of us were from the same country or of the same faith or shared nearly the same skin-tone (harhar). We had all been raised and lived very different lives and now were sitting together and peacefully discussing some very controversial issues. We were, quite literally, an international group by every sense of the term - multi-cultural, multi-religious, and so on. We had representatives from America, Botswana, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Ireland, and more. We had Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Catholics, and Athiests. We had a hodge-podge combination of folks that honestly sounded like it should be the start of a joke - "A Motswana, an Indian, and an Irish girl walk into a bar...". I mention this because I think it is interesting and because I never thought that, when I came to Peace Corps, I would be surrounded by people from so many walks of life. I expected to meet locals and learn their culture and gain some sort of African experience that was different from my own. And, of course, this has happened and I have made some amazing friends in my local community along the way. But I have also made friends with fellow do-gooders and with ex-pats and with others who have chosen to settle in Botswana. These relationships have made my experience even more rich and complex and educational. I have truly had some remarkable and eye-opening conversations with this group that have broadened my worldview and taught me so much about myself, my beliefs, and about the global community. I am extremely grateful for my random and wonderful group of friends.

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