Something foreign and wonderful to me in Peru was the collective mentality, or the power of "we" as I have titled this post. Here in the United States of America we are a very individual driven society. Our language is individualistic, our goals are individualistic, our advertising is geared towards individualist. Similarly, it is ingrained in us that a person can do or become whatever she or he may put their mind to.
In Peru, things are different. Peru is all about community rather than the individual. I caught myself the other day talking like a Peruvian rather than an estadounidense. Last week I was telling someone about my current semester and instead of using the pronouns I, me and my, I caught myself saying we, us and our, referring to myself as well as my roommates and friends. In Peru it is a polite gesture to include those around you when you are talking about your plans, daily activities, accomplishments, etc. no matter their level of direct involvement. Inclusion is a big deal in Peruvian society and it is something that I walked away valuing on a higher level after three months of trying to fit myself into a context with different cultural mores and social norms.
This attitiude reminds me of the body of Christ and how we are supposed to function as the body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. I'll hone in on the key phrases in verses 24b-27 that are the specific sections that came to mind while thinking about this communal way of thinking:
"But God has put the body together…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
How we relate to one another and refer to our daily interactions with others differs across cultures.
|Myself with my host family in Lima|
Galedt, Glicerio, Leanna, Zully, Sara