I was born and I live on an island where we are so diverse but sometimes don’t even realize it. If we look at the physical traits of those that are around us and were mostly born on the Island, it is very difficult to identify their nationality.
Many places are called melting pots but I do think the Caribbean Islands hold up to that name better than anywhere else. There are many places where many cultures spend time together but don’t really mix. In places like Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and many of our sister islands, you can see the diversity of how so many nationalities came together leaving ethnicity to the side and joining in as human beings.
Times Have Changed
An island where so many came to try something new, diversity was something many of our ancestors where so familiar with. Most of my generation on the Island are encapsulated in there close surroundings, that even when we have the internet to connect with people on a global scale, they decide to connect with those close to the geographical proximity of where they stand.
I have been in a variety of places where there is a diversity of people around me. The military gave me the opportunity to interact with many individuals. I had friends that came from all around the states even from the other U.S. Territory Guam. The only thing that we had in common was the uniform we wore but we had to figure out how to make things happen even with our differences.
I would say that the place where I really had the opportunity to embrace a diverse community was working in New York City at KPMG where my co-workers came from all over the world. Some were Russian, Phillipino, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Japanese, and from other interesting places. This opportunity of working along so many individuals allowed me to learn about their cultures. Since most of my work was in Technology, I was able to spend even more time with my Indian co-workers (now friends that are more like extended family members).
My Indian Brothers
Working along many of my Indian friends I was able to see how divided a United country can be. If you look at the customers and traditions of India, they are a country that was able to accomplish independence while being very divided inside. My experience of working with those that I call my Indian Brothers and one Sister (Niti), I saw how they segregated each other depending on what part of India they came from, what languages they spoke, what color of skin, what food they ate, and so many other factors that I learned many new things every opportunity I had to interact with them.
Overcoming Diversity and Adversity
No matter how diverse they were, I admired My Indian brothers for being able to put all their difference aside and reach a common goal. A sense of pride in their work and what they represented made them work harder towards accomplishing team goals. When it came time to work or have a good time we were able to come together and forget our differences and just make sure the best outcome would come out of the tasks handed to us.
India is such a large country and so multi-cultured it is amazing how they can all work towards a collective well being (even with the many differences). I worked next to many Indians who I call family and I saw how many would take care of their own and even me when I decided to learn about their culture.
I only wish that one day my island can look back at our ancestors and how they reached this island seeking adventure and risk to find something new. I think that spirit has evaporated and hindered our risk taking nature.
We see how many our scared to let go of what seems comfortable. If India was able to accomplish its independence then I think such a small country like mine no matter what differences can do the same. India made that decision decades ago and we are yet to make ours. The time is passing by while our island is falling into an abyss because many don’t want to let go of a safety blanket, which is also suffocating us from growing as a nation.
I think I might dedicate a series of posts in relation to the many ways we can work towards Puerto Rico getting more control and actually coming out of that abyss successfully.
Are there any topics you would like me to cover? Let me know!
photo credit by Maxpax