Ernesto Sosa – Slum Child Care
Being born and raised in the Dominican Republic and having been lucky enough to earn my undergrad degree in the United States I had a sense of how cultures can influence our feelings and thoughts and can change who we are. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit Mexico, Venezuela, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Haiti as well as interacting with many other cultures by working with Guests and Cast Members from around the World that visit and work at our Disney parks.
This has been my first trip outside of the Continent of America and yes I was expecting a difference in culture however I was not really expecting the level of kindness and respect demonstrated by the Taiwanese, Thai, and Japanese people during this trip.
I was blown away by the hospitality and kindness of these Asian cultures. People learn, understand the value of respect for others, and they embrace these core values as part of their early education as children. One of the most impressing things that struck me during our visit to the Foundation for Slum Child Care was how these young children respected each other, the staff, and the respect they showed for their cultural believes. These children also welcomed us with open arms, love, and kindness even though we were complete strangers to them.
Reality quickly kicked in for me when I arrived back to the US. After being immersed into kindness and respect, I felt a sense of authority and condescending discrimination when an immigration officer made the assumption that I was not an American citizen and asked me to prove that I had an American passport in order to stay in the “correct line”. We feel empowered to judge and disrespect others without even realizing it.
We are all in this World together, whether we like it or not; and as Tenzin Gyatso (the 14th Dalai Lama) said: “ If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another”.