The Legacy of White Bread

A nickname turns into a lifelong friendship.

By Andy Ray - Peace Corps Volunteer, Costa Rica (2005 - 2007)

“Observe your community for three months,

Then you can begin your project,”

Our program director informed us.

But my project is so important right now!

I thought.

I sat for three weeks on my front porch,

Reading Don Quijote and watching people

Pass by on their bikes,

Riding just slowly enough not to

Fall off.

Until one day…

“White bread!!!!” yelled the boy who rode his bicycle

Like a mad man past our house down the dusty road.

Wait a minute, is that really going to be my name here? I worried.

“Come back!” I yelled.

And he did…with a smile on his face.

“What is your name?” I asked.

“Oliver,” he replied.

“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Andy.”

Hands shake with smiles.

Years later, I have a wonderful son named Oliver,

Who reminds me of a tornado;

Exactly like Oliver, my friend from Peace Corps.

And Oliver informed me he now has a daughter,

Whose name is Diana;

Exactly like my wife who served in Peace Corps with me.

This poem was entered in the returned Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries. 

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