Tuesday, December 07, 2004

My greatest Impression of America

I often wonder what is the thing I most admire about America, what is the one thing that I have seen over the past three years that I would like to emulate. Well there are many things, but the most important is the treatment of disabled people.

I must admit that I am not very tolerant, I have always looked at the disabled with some contempt. Back home, this is the norm, we discriminate against the disabled. When we see a disabled individual we walk on the other side of the road or simpky ignore them. But in my three years in the states I have come to appreciate the value of people, whether with a disability or not. I have been in many classes with disabled indivivuals, whether paraplegics, or any other physical or mental incapacity. In a recent class I was amazed at the strength and wit of one such disabled individual, she is a paraplegic and has a speakinf impediment, she relies on a wheel chair and some one to take here notes, but she is a very intelligent and capable individual. I see many such individuals here in America, they are not ostracized from the community - as they are in Kenya - they are treated as any human being should be, with respect and dignity.

I was also impressed be the level of care taken by all insitutions, to make sure that their facilities are accessible to the disabled. Whether it is handicap accessible restrooms, wheel chair ramps or whatever. I am very impressed and grateful fot the accessibilty the disabled are given. I know it as a result of laws, but I still believe it is an issue to be emulated. If we are to learn anything from America, it is that the disabled can (and are) part of a vibrant and diverse culture and they should not be shunned.