Monday, October 22, 2012

When food talks of brotherhood, peace, love and unity

© Nadia Bourouba
I am a Fulbright alumnus from Algeria. My friend, a Fulbright from Tajikistan, and I would love to share and confess how our Fulbright grant was truly a life-changing experience.

We studied together at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. Vermont, a small paradise on earth, is a very peaceful area known for its green mountains and maple trees.

There, I lived in a house that hosted three international students coming from different countries. Bahrat, with his family, is a young man from India. Bakhtivor, with his wife, is from Tajikistan. And me.

We met and talked whenever we prepared our food. It was in a tiny kitchen that we got to know each other by sharing ideas about politics, religion, culture, and traditions. Preparing our food together was a bridge between three different cultures. Day after day, we got to know each other and became very close. Much love, unity, and care unconsciously emerged, creating just one family; a family that belongs to one and only one culture. It was a culture of love, and brotherhood.

One day, we decided to spread the idea and share this cultural richness with the student community at large. The idea was about inviting other people to join our united family for an international dinner. Our objectives were to bring together the students, to proudly share their culture, recognize the cultural differences, believe in the beauty of diversity, and to celebrate the unity of the entire community.

International Food Day
Although we belong to different cultures, it was not a barrier at all. On the contrary, diversity has been the spice of very beautiful moments sharing everything, including language, tradition, and religion. Everyone was busy preparing his or her traditional food. The Tajik people prepared their national dish called “oshi palov”, Russian pancakes “blinchiki”, and national bread “kulcha”. The Indian prepared “rasam” and “south Indian mixed veggie” and I decided to prepare “couscous” and “shorba”, a kind of soup and traditional cookies. We, graciously, offered to share a few of our traditional foods.

© Nadia Bourouba
The enthusiastic guests, coming from different countries including South Africa, Indonesia, and from different states of United States were very excited to know about the recipes, and were eager to take bites of different varieties of food. Besides, the event was not only limited to preparing food, it also included decorating the house and dressing up in traditional clothes to welcome the guests.

This International Food gathering was very fruitful. It was an opportunity to discover and discuss our differences. And more importantly, it has created a sort of mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation of diversity.

© Nadia Bourouba
Nadia Bourouba (Algeria) 
MAT (Master of Art in Teaching), SIT
Bakhtiyor Isoev (Tajikistan)
Master in International Education, SIT 

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