The interview involved Mary Esther, an East African immigrant aged 76 years old and still operating a small curio shop in her neighborhood. She was awarded full citizenship rights in 1984 and came to the country on an Academic student scholarship from the Africa region. . Her home country is Uganda, and she recalls being happy to leave because of the insecurity and volatile political state of the country, where democracy was and still is, non-existent. The deplorable poverty of her home country did not spare her family. However, being a hard worker and a bright student in her early years, she managed to be the best student in the country and was sponsored to join University. She studied healthcare studies and also has a postgraduate diploma in social work. She is married to a native and a mother of two boys. One of her boys relocated to her native country. She regularly visits when there is time and when her health can allow her. Mary suffers from a long-term chronic ailment-diabetes- which from her words is hereditary. She retired from active work as an administrator at a private nursing home at the age of 57 when her ailment alleviated and she could no longer keep up with the job. Mary was a long-term volunteer at the Red Cross. One of her assignments at the outfit was teaching children to conduct first aid services.
Mary Esther was selected for the interview because of diverse reasons. In addition to being an old citizen of the country, she is an immigrant of both a different racial and cultural background. Mary is married to a citizen by birth-native- and has been in active social work for over 30 years. The interviewee was thus a good choice as she is a representation of a multiplicity of different socio-cultural archetypes. The interviewee was well researched and fits a profile whereby the open-ended questions provided would reveal substantive information from the source. Sara Shoob and Cynthia Stout connote the fact researchers never undertake an interview without investigating the interviewee with the key being, comprehending the context into which the subject’s life fits (Shoob & Stout, 2007). The life of Mary is characterized by fights of equality during the political eras and the challenges that confront immigrants in host communities. She lived in perilous and volatile times where being black and an immigrant left an individual vulnerable to a myriad of social vices and victimizations.
The generational differences mark some of the significant distinctions between the socio-historical differences between the interviewer and interviewee. The respondent is a traditionalist whilst the interviewee is generational Y. The traditionalist is characterized by adhesion to rules, family focus, respect for structure and authority, loyal, and trust entirely in government. The generational disparity is distinct as a millennial is leaned towards networks, not a hierarchy, goal-oriented, ambitious, technologically and politically savvy like the baby boomers. The similarities in socio-historical experiences can be highlighted markedly through similar historical events of the two generations. The traditionalists and millennial generations grew in a period of political excitements, wars, and change. The great depression and the First World War were historical events that denoted severe economic and social times for the traditionalists. However, they were followed by periods of economic and social expansion similar to the ones faced by the Y generation.
There exists a significant difference between the cultural principles held close by the respondent to the ones of the interviewee. Mary, descending from an African background and integrated into the host society community can be said to have different social practices and values. Some of them included embracing a masculine culture (From Hofstede’s Cultural dimension) that put discipline, respect for hierarchy and authority, and conforming to community ideologies in high esteem (Hofstede, 2011). The integration of Mary into the host society was a long process, and she faced major challenges such as racial discrimination and non-acceptance. However, from her long stay in the country she is has picked up cultural practices such as a low power distance entailing the degree or extent to the distribution of authority(Hofstede, 2011).
The social skills implemented in carrying out the interview include interpersonal-empathetic communication skills, focusing, review, evaluation, and reflection on feelings. The interview process requires focus to ensure a more focused process whilst taking on a more empathetic approach to generate the sense of concern that incites the respondent to open up more. The social values instigated in the choice of the interviewee ensured the equality, worth, and diversity. Mary’s dignity, privacy, and individuality were also taken into consideration with the follow-up questions ensuring limited probing of her more personal life and subjective opinions derived from social justice knowledge in social work. The introduction made before the start of the interview process ensured the development of a relationship with the interviewee who was, at first, apprehensive about her participation. Research work in social work is critical as it contributes to the growth of knowledge executed in carrying out social work services (Brody, 2010). The interview process relied on the knowledge indicated in conducting interviews for the social sciences. The knowledge in ethics was integral in the interview process as it promotes respect, denounces negative criticism and highlights the accurate representation of views.
The issue of ethics was put into consideration in the conduction of the interview. Mary is a pseudonym of the respondent that ensures confidentiality and privacy of the interviewee. The interview process was conducted with utmost respect for the interviewee. The respondent was assured the information derived from her answers was only to be utilized for academic purposes. Social work students are obligated to treat their colleagues and clients with most respect (Brody, 2010).
The interview was conducted at a small hotel joint in the city. However, if the interview was to be conducted again, a more familiar and convenient setting for the interviewee would be chosen to save on time and augment comfort. The interview questions also did not cover the pertinent issues endeavored to be discovered by the choice of the respondent. Some of the matters included integration, discrimination, and challenges faced in rearing children as an African immigrant in the host countries. The questions were limited, and thus, a review would be necessary to cover the agendas highlighted. The interview process was, however, a success due to the ethical code employed. The professional conduction of the interview was exemplary as it ended in a commendation from the respondent. The interactions developed a cordial relationship between interviewer and interviewee.
One of the greatest contributions of the interviewee was during her work years that involved the integration of old war veterans into the community. From the look in her eyes and facial expressions, she was passionate about being involved. In her words, “working with the war veterans was gratifying as much as it was a challenge.” It was a peculiar job she took in the private nursing home away from her usual administrative role. She acclaimed the fact that it was one of her best and notable accomplishments apart from not succumbing to the challenges of being an immigrant individual in the host country. The best times of her life have been through work, and she denoted the fact that her work was wholly significant in her personal life. The issue was selected among the others as it shows other than the challenges experienced by Mary; she was most proud of helping the war veterans in their pursuit
Mary continues to work at her curio shop. It depicts the activity aging concept where an elderly individual remains mentally and physically active. The activeness allows the individual to socialize and engage with others alleviating the levels of self-worth and happiness. The interviewee also continues to maintain social-family relationships with her family disregarding distance and her health condition. The continuity concepts highlight the need for older age folks to maintain past relationships or work life. She is opinionated about life, risks and how the youth of the current age are “missing the mark.” However, her subjective viewpoints can be accrued to the age stratification concepts whereby the historical cohorts-traditionalists- play a role in shaping her views and perspectives on life. The aging process of Mary can be explained by the fact that she was a traditionalist hence active and more masculine to her approach in life and views, a product of her native culture.
Brody, S. (2010, September 20). What is the role of social workers? Retrieved from Communitycare.co.uk:
Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture.
Shoob, S., & Stout, C. (2007). Teaching Studies Today. Hurtington Beach, CA: Shell Education.