By Edwin Ramirez, Customer Service Representative, New York City, NY
I’m from Lima, Peru, and I’m what they call a mestizo, someone who has Peruvian and European heritage. For me personally, my grandad was from Europe and my other grandfather was from Africa. My grandmother was an ethnic Quechua person, also known as Amerindians.
I came to the United States in 2004 looking for a better life. I’m also a disabled person. I had a car accident when I was 18 years old, and I suffered a spinal cord injury, so I cannot walk. I use a manual wheelchair, so I really understand our clients when they call in with a problem with their chair. I know personally that it is very important for us to have functional equipment. I am happy to be a part of National Seating & Mobility because I get to help my disabled community and that makes me feel good.
In my culture, we’re very friendly. We help others, and we always smile. I say hello to everyone no matter what, whether I know them or not. Peru has a long history. Peru was a big empire when Spain and the conquistadors came. Before that, Peru was part of the Incan Empire that encompassed Peru, western and south-central Bolivia, southwest Ecuador and a large portion of what is today Chile, north of the Maule River. There has been a lot of conflict between our countries, but we all come from one empire. So, for me, I see people from these countries like my brothers and sisters, like my family.
Peru is a place where many cultures mix. Chinese, African Europeans, Peruvian cultures—and we bring that to our plates. The food is really delicious. We make a combination of everything, and we create our own dishes. A lot of the different states in Peru have their own dishes. In Lima, ceviche is really popular. Roasted chicken is a big part of our culture and cuisine.
I miss my country, but now I’m a United States citizen. I love this country. The United States is filled with people from so many different cultures. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month is to recognize that we—the Spanish, the Hispanic community—are a part of that diverse community. It is so great to live in a country and work in a company with so much diversity, with people from different countries and cultures. Diversity makes our culture so much richer.