Listen Up: Some Observations About Latino Culture In RI
After enjoying Restaurant Week In Central Falls recently (at La Casona Restaurant), and with Hispanic Heritage Month having just passed, I wanted to point out some very interesting facts about the Latin American countries that I am more familiar with and that are most likely represented here in Rhode Island. Ideally, I would have asked my Latin American friends from DR (Yes, we use this abbrev a lot to refer to the Dominican Republic), PR, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Venezuela, Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Ecuador, and Bolivia - 'What would you want people who are NOT of Latin American descent to know about you as a Bolivian, Argentinian, etc?' Unfortunately, that idea just occurred to me, so I've decided instead to take the Latin American flag and basically represent us all (collectively) to some degree. (Btw, just realized I don't know people from some of these countries, but I'm sure I know someone who does!)
First of all, it's wonderful to know that there are so many Latin American countries represented in Rhode Island. I believe that the majority reside in Providence and Central Falls (but I could be wrong as I don't have any census information to go by). It's also great to know that although we all speak Spanish (except our Brazilian friends), love good food, and music, there are also very distinct things about each of our countries - from how we speak Spanish to the things that identify each of us as Ecuadorian, Venezuelan, etc. In fact, even within our country of origin, depending on where we are from geographically, we will speak (Spanish) differently. Moreover, the food, the climate, and even how people from that region are looked upon by the rest of the country varies. And this happens within each Latin American country. So, imagine that when you run into someone from Latin America, you are meeting someone who comes from country X and region Y and maybe even pueblo (town) Z. One person from country X does not represent the whole country. This is why it's so important to open your heart and mind and find out where your neighbor is from. Find out all the idiosyncrasies that make him or her who he/she is. Take time to find out the differences, but also take time to find out how we are all really the same: We all have HOPES and DREAMS. We all have LOVE in our hearts. We are all flawed but perfect at the same time...as we are made in one image. (This is my belief!)
So, I salute each of our beautiful flags and the beautiful people who represent them. To be honest, I still have a lot to learn about my brothers and sisters from DR, El Salvador, Honduras, etc.(And there is so much to learn!) Knowing one person from a country is just like tasting one flavor of ice cream. Bad analogy, I know. But you get my point :) Speaking of tasting, there are fantastic Latin American restaurants in Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls. Please be curious and find out where they are. I am certain you'll be happy you did!
Guisela Pinto Caballero is from Bolivia. She writes a weekly newsletter and her goal is to inspire people to reach their truest and highest potential. Sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website guiselapintocaballero.com and follow her on FB by clicking here.
Photo Credits: Photos of RI, Providence, and Central Falls courtesy of Google Images. All other photos provided by Guisela Pinto Caballero.