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Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth in exile : adapting to life in Canada Smiley, William James 1989

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SALVADOREAN AND GUATEMALAN YOUTH IN EXILE: ADAPTING TO LIFE IN CANADA by WILLIAM JAMES SMILEY B.S.W., The University of Manitoba, 1988 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (The School of Social Work) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July, 1989 ( 5 ) William James Smiley, 1989 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) 11 ABSTRACT The purpose of t h i s study was to examine the experiences of Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth adapting to l i f e in Canada. Qualitative methods were used to allow the participants to share their experiences and perceptions in their own words. The data emphasize i n d i v i d u a l i t y and common concerns rather than numbers or labels. Focused interviews were done with youth between the ages of 16 and 24 years. Thirteen males and eleven females were interviewed. Their time in Canada ranged from a couple of weeks to fiv e years. The findings revealed that many were experiencing emotional and psychological wounds due to traumatic pre-migration experiences of war and violence. Symptoms reported included; nightmares, insomnia, intrusive memories, lack of concentration, depression, and anxiety. Our s o c i a l and mental health services are not prepared to deal with these problems. The highest r i s k population seemed to be single young men who have come to Canada as refugee claimants. They do not even have the support of family and friends. These young men also face the added stress of waiting to see i f they w i l l be deported or allowed to stay in Canada. The youth described adapting to the c u l t u r a l differences, their experiences of discrimination and racism, and the Ill frustrations of learning English. They talked about family problems complicated by c o n f l i c t i n g c u l t u r a l values and changing gender roles. They shared their strengths, ways of coping, and aspirations. The study revealed a lack of services for refugee youth. Our i n s t i t u t i o n s are not responsive to those who have had their formal education interrupted by war and migration. Although Canada's o f f i c i a l p o l i c y i s one of multiculturalism, our i n s t i t u t i o n s and attitudes seem to expect these newcomers to be "regular Canadians". Their t r a n s i t i o n from one culture to another at a time of identity formation, further complicated by the scars of trauma, i s very d i f f i c u l t . A whole range of services i s required, including counselling, support groups, c u l t u r a l orientation programmes, l e i s u r e and recreation programmes, more f l e x i b l e and responsive educational programmes, and employment t r a i n i n g . Canada i s a m u l t i c u l t u r a l mosaic and immigrant and refugee youth are a part of our future. The role of s o c i a l work in addressing these needs i s discussed. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 1 THE PROBLEM AREA AND LITERATURE REVIEW 4 Rationale for Selection of Issues 10 METHODOLOGY Research Design 12 Issues in Implementation 14 Characteristics of Study Population 20 Data Analysis 21 A Qualitative Approach 22 Limitations 23 FINDINGS 25 P r o f i l e s of Participants 26 War and Trauma 32 a) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 36 b) Refugee Claimants 39 c) Discussion of War and Trauma 42 Adaptation 45 a) Cultural Differences 45 b) Discrimination 47 c) English as a Second Language 48 d) Gender Roles 50 e) Gangs 52 f) Discussion of Adaptation 54 Family Dynamics 57 a) Separation 57 b) Intergenerational C o n f l i c t 59 c) Discussion of Family Dynamics 62 Prospects 64 a) Education and Employment 64 b) Discussion of Prospects 67 V CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL WORK 71 Trauma 74 Adaptation 75 Family Dynamics 77 Prospects 79 RECOMMENDATIONS 82 BIBLIOGRAPHY 89 Appendix "A" - Interview Guide 95 Appendix "B" - Coding Schedule 96 Appendix "C" - Example of Interview Data 98 ) vi LIST OF TABLES TABLE I Number and Gender of P a r t i c i p a n t s per Interview 17 TABLE II C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the Sample 20 V l l ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The production of t h i s thesis was a team e f f o r t and I have a long l i s t of people to thank. F i r s t of a l l , I want to thank the youth who were so w i l l i n g to share their experiences with me. Next, the members of the Latin American Youth Advisory Committee, with representatives from most of the immigrant serving agencies in Vancouver, were of invaluable assistance in organizing and carrying out t h i s study. Special thanks go to Doug Soo and Hugo Salazar of the Britannia Community Services Centre and Norma Jean McLaren of the Social Planning Department, City of Vancouver. Their help and in s p i r a t i o n made t h i s project not only possible, but enjoyable as well. My academic advisors, Dr. Nancy Waxier-Morrison and Dr. Kathryn McCannell, were very helpful and a pleasure to work with. I would also l i k e to thank Carla Schafer and Joan and Howie Larke whose love and support helped to keep me sane when the pressures of the workload and the deadlines were threatening my mental health. 1 INTRODUCTION Over the past ten years, Canada has admitted more than one m i l l i o n newcomers, almost 200,000 of whom have been refugees. This i s nothing new. Canada, as we know i t , was b u i l t by immigrants. What i s d i f f e r e n t i s that the character of migration is changing. Whereas previously most of the 150,000 people who entered Canada each year came from Europe, now the majority come from Asia, A f r i c a and Latin America (Canada, 1986). These new immigrants hold ideas and values about family, r e l i g i o n , and society vastly d i f f e r e n t from most Canadians. These differences compound the d i f f i c u l t y and stress of s t a r t i n g l i f e over again in a completely new and unfamiliar environment. Services to immigrants and refugees have increased substantially in the past ten years. Many non-profit organizations have been established to help with the i n i t i a l settlement of the newcomers. These agencies provide orientation, information, employment counselling and supportive counselling in the languages of the newcomers. Most of the funding for these services comes from the federal government in the form of grants. Other funds come from the municipal government, churches, and funding agencies l i k e the United Way. The p r o v i n c i a l government here in B r i t i s h Columbia provides very l i t t l e money for such 2 services.1 They have been reluctant to see the adaptation of immigrants as a Provincial r e s p o n s i b i l i t y (Shearer, 1987). This perspective overlooks the fact that immigrants and refugees become tax paying residents of the province and s t i l l experience language and c u l t u r a l barriers to the use of mainstream services and f u l l p a r t i c i p a t i o n in B r i t i s h Columbian society. It i s important to make a d i s t i n c t i o n between immigrants and refugees. Immigrants make a voluntary choice to come to Canada. Their move i s often c a r e f u l l y planned, sometimes for years in advance. They often come to improve their economic situations, or to build a "better l i f e " for their children. Refugees are involuntary migrants. They were forced to leave their homeland. They often had to flee for their l i v e s on a moment's notice, leaving behind a l l they had worked for and a l l they had known. They must seek asylum outside of their countries. Three quarters of the world's approximately thirteen m i l l i o n refugees are women and children (Siemens, 1988). Refugees from E l Salvador and Guatemala are fleeing brutal m i l i t a r y repression and terrorism. Poor landless peasants pressing for land reforms have been labeled communists. Afr a i d of losing t h e i r p r i v i l e g e s , the Salvadorean oligarchy and m i l i t a r y have waged a bloody war on their own population, forcing the revolutionary movements to organize and fight back. This 1. The Province of British Columbia spends an average of $9 per immigrant for settlement and integration services as compared to Manitoba, which spend an average of $230 per immigrant. British Columbia has the lowest rate in all of Canada (Shearer, 1987). 3 s t r i f e has caused 30,000 deaths and 300,000 refugees s i n c e 1979 (Waxier-Morrison, et a l . In p r e s s ) . The youth have been caught i n the middle of the s t r u g g l e . The m i l i t a r y c o n s c r i p t s young a d o l e s c e n t s , sometimes as young as t h i r t e e n years o l d , by kidnapping them on t h e i r way to s c h o o l , coming out of movies, or wherever they can f i n d them. The youth are a l s o p r essured to j o i n the r e v o l u t i o n a r y groups. I f they t r y to remain n e u t r a l they are suspected of being c o l l a b o r a t o r s by both s i d e s . One refugee woman t o l d me that the g r e a t e s t s i n today i n E l Salvador i s to be young. Growing numbers of Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth are l i v i n g i n Vancouver. The settlement s e r v i c e s that are a v a i l a b l e focus mainly on p r e p a r i n g a d u l t s f o r the job market. Immigrant youth as a t a r g e t group has been l a r g e l y ignored (Shearer, 1987). S o c i a l workers, community o r g a n i z a t i o n s , the s c h o o l s , and the p o l i c e have become i n c r e a s i n g l y concerned. Immigrant youth face i s s u e s that are common to youth i n gen e r a l but i t i s important that programmes f o r youth take i n t o account that some of the group are new to Canada and to the Canadian way of l i f e . 4 THE PROBLEM AREA AND LITERATURE REVIEW I have chosen to study the experiences of Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth in Vancouver. Refugee youth have been i d e n t i f i e d as being "at r i s k " for developing emotional and mental disorders by the Canadian Task Force on Mental Health Issues Affecting Immigrants and Refugees (1986). Adolescence i s a time of identity formation, a time of increased v u l n e r a b i l i t y and heightened potential (Erikson, 1968). Major changes in a c u l t u r a l context during identity formation tend to have severe consequences for further development (Misri, 1986). Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth have been forced to f l e e , some with their families and others alone. Departures were often sudden and dangerous; people escaped only with their l i v e s . The continuity of the past with a projection to the future i s broken and the individual finds her/himself forced to learn a new language and a dif f e r e n t c u l t u r a l code (Perez, 1984). Just as confidence i s growing, the youth finds that what was understood and acceptable behaviour in his\her home country i s misunderstood in the Canadian context, causing confusion and di s o r i e n t a t i o n . Learning a new language could be fun but, when i t i s a matter of s u r v i v a l , i t i s not so pleasurable. Not knowing English i s a barrier to p a r t i c i p a t i o n in society. Here in Vancouver, English as a Second Language (E.S.L.) tr a i n i n g i s provided in high schools and community colleges. Recent newspaper a r t i c l e s have publicized the fact that the schools are 5 overloaded with E.S.L. students and there i s a w a i t i n g l i s t to get i n t o c l a s s e s . Poor E n g l i s h s k i l l s c o n f i n e newcomers to low paying, low s t a t u s jobs such as c l e a n i n g or sweat shop work, not to mention the f r u s t r a t i o n of not being able to express o n e s e l f f r e e l y and c l e a r l y . The language, the c o n v e r s a t i o n of the people seemed l i k e a hum. To me they were only " n o i s e s " and "sounds"... i t i s l i k e l i v i n g under water, s e m i - i s o l a t e d and semi deaf...I had never before experienced t h i s f e e l i n g of h e l p l e s s n e s s (Fantino, 1982, p.52). Many of these young refugees have had very traumatic experiences p r i o r to or during m i g r a t i o n . Many have been v i c t i m s of r e p r e s s i o n or t o r t u r e . Most of them have f a m i l y members who have been t o r t u r e d and/or k i l l e d , sometimes r i g h t before t h e i r eyes. These experiences may cause a Post Traumatic S t r e s s D i s o r d e r (P.T.S.D.) with f l a s h b a c k s and nightmares along with s o c i a l withdrawal and a prolonged a p a t h e t i c and d e p r e s s i v e syndrome ( A l l o d i , 1987 and Perez, 1984). The P.T.S.D. i s then f u r t h e r complicated by having to d e a l with i t i n a f o r e i g n c u l t u r e , removed from a f a m i l i a r environment and i t s supports. Perez (1984) c a l l s t h i s the E x i l e Syndrome and l i s t s the f o l l o w i n g f e e l i n g s common to e x i l e s : 1. G u i l t and shame to be a l i v e and a wish that they had been k i l l e d . 2. S e l f r e c r i m i n a t i o n f o r abandoning compatriots and f o r l i v i n g i n b e t t e r c o n d i t i o n s of s u r v i v a l than those l e f t behind. 3. Loss of esteem with s e l f doubt i n the s t r e n g t h of t h e i r p r i n c i p l e s . 4. Hatred towards the aggressor. 6 5. Reluctance or resistance to incorporate into the new environment and the i n a b i l i t y to foresee a meaningful future outside of their own country. These feelings can prolong the adaptation process of someone who feels that their stay here in Canada i s temporary. They may be l i v i n g with their bags packed, waiting to go home. This contributes to feelings of i s o l a t i o n and marginalization (Fantino, 1982). Intergenerational c o n f l i c t i s a major problem i d e n t i f i e d by the l i t e r a t u r e (Misri, 1986; Sepulveda, 1984; Tesler, 1984; Burke, 1982; Maglione, 1983; Shearer, 1987; Canino and Canino, 1980 and Berdichewsky, 1987). Most of the a r t i c l e s about immigrant families at least referred to t h i s c o n f l i c t between adolescents and their parents. The i n d i v i d u a l i z a t i o n process that an adolescent goes through i s often a source of c o n f l i c t in families. This c o n f l i c t i s exacerbated by c u l t u r a l factors. Latin American families tend to be "normally enmeshed" (Canino and Canino, 1980). The young adult usually l i v e s at home u n t i l marriage. Autonomy and independence i s discouraged, especially in adolescent g i r l s . The extended family overlaps with the nuclear family. I l l n e s s and personal d i f f i c u l t i e s are seen to be family problems rather than individual problems (Maduro,1983). Canadian youth have more l i b e r t y than th e i r Latino counterparts. They are encouraged to be more independent and i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c . The Latino youth moves between two cultures 7 everyday. Peer pressure at s c h o o l and the n a t u r a l q u e s t i o n i n g of p a r e n t a l v a l u e s may b r i n g a t o t a l r e j e c t i o n of the o l d values i n order to accept the new ones. In other cases the f a m i l y may r e j e c t Canadian c u l t u r e and i n f l u e n c e the youth to do so a l s o (Sepulveda, 1984). Adolescent g i r l s are u s u a l l y q u i t e r e s t r i c t e d and " p r o t e c t e d " from bad elements i n s o c i e t y . The g i r l s o f t e n experience d i f f i c u l t i e s with parents who become more r e s t r i c t i v e in r e a c t i o n to what they c o n s i d e r to be loose moral values of Canadian s o c i e t y (Burke, 1982). Another f a c t o r c o n t r i b u t i n g to i n t e r g e n e r a t i o n a l c o n f l i c t has to do with a d e v a l u a t i o n of p a r e n t a l a u t h o r i t y . The c h i l d r e n o f t e n l e a r n E n g l i s h before t h e i r parents and become t r a n s l a t o r s f o r the f a m i l y . The f a m i l y depends on them f o r i n f o r m a t i o n and communication with the o u t s i d e world. T h i s puts the c h i l d i n a " p a r e n t i f i e d " r o l e which confuses the l i n e s of a u t h o r i t y . T r a d i t i o n a l d i s c i p l i n a r y methods used i n L a t i n America are undermined by Canadian a u t h o r i t i e s i n the defense of c h i l d w e l f a r e (Canino and Canino, 1980). The above mentioned problems experienced by immigrant f a m i l i e s are not new and have been s t u d i e d i n d e t a i l by r e s e a r c h e r s . S i m i l a r problems are experienced by a l l immigrant p o p u l a t i o n s moving from more t r a d i t i o n a l c u l t u r e s to more l i b e r a l ones. S t u d i e s of I t a l i a n - A m e r i c a n s i n Boston (Gans, 1962) and Mexican-Americans in Chicago (Horowitz, 1983) r e v e a l e d that the c o n f l i c t between the o l d and new c u l t u r e s i s c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to 8 f a m i l y problems and i d e n t i t y formation i n c h i l d r e n . Both s t u d i e s looked at w e l l e s t a b l i s h e d , g e o g r a p h i c a l l y d e f i n e d communities where the youth were second g e n e r a t i o n immigrants born i n North America. T h i s kind of s i t u a t i o n does not e x i s t here i n Vancouver where the present study was done. The Salvadoreans and Guatemalans are spread out and do not i d e n t i f y with one p a r t i c u l a r area of the c i t y . They have immigrated r e c e n t l y . Of those i n t e r v i e w e d , the longest anyone had been i n Canada was f i v e y e a r s , although some had l i v e d p r e v i o u s l y i n the Un i t e d S t a t e s . The youth and t h e i r parents are both f i r s t g e n e r a t i o n immigrants adapting to a new c u l t u r e . Family problems a r i s e when f a m i l y members respond d i f f e r e n t l y to the new c u l t u r e . Another d i f f e r e n c e from e a r l i e r s t u d i e s i s that these people are refugees and e x i l e s . They have unique and p r e s s i n g p s y c h o l o g i c a l and s o c i a l problems which r e q u i r e s e n s i t i v e and immediate a t t e n t i o n . The Canadian Task Force on Mental H e a l t h Issues A f f e c t i n g Immigrants and Refugees (1986) p u b l i s h e d a l i t e r a t u r e review which i d e n t i f i e d c e r t a i n c o n t i n g e n c i e s which i n c r e a s e the r i s k of mental d i s o r d e r i n immigrants and refugees. They i n c l u d e : 1. A drop i n pe r s o n a l socio-economic s t a t u s f o l l o w i n g m i g r a t i o n . 2. I n a b i l i t y to speak the language of the host country. 3. Sep a r a t i o n from f a m i l y . 4. Lack of f r i e n d l y r e c e p t i o n by surrounding host p o p u l a t i o n . 5. I s o l a t i o n from persons of s i m i l a r c u l t u r a l background. 6. Traumatic experience or prolonged s t r e s s p r i o r to 9 migration. 7. Adolescent or senior age at time of migration. Migrant sub-populations characterized by some or a l l of these variables appear to be at greatest risk for mental disorder sometime between three months and eighteen months of a r r i v a l . A second period of elevated r i s k , which develops years after migration, may be associated with the emergence of family problems (p. i i ) . Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth experience many of these contingencies; lack of English, racism, traumatic experiences prior to migration, and of course, adolescent age. They are a high risk population for developing mental disorder. They are also at risk for s o c i a l problems and getting in trouble with the law. There i s a growing concern about youth gangs in the streets and in the schools. Refugee youth who f e e l isolated and devalued may find belonging to a gang quite a t t r a c t i v e (Sepulveda, 1984; Shearer, 1987). Members of a Hispanic gang c a l l e d Los Diablos have been responsible for house break-ins, auto theft, and petty extortion. Having a criminal record further complicates their future adjustment process and employment p o s s i b i l i t i e s . In 1987 Renate Shearer conducted the Review of Immigrant and  Ethnic Services in Vancouver (Shearer, 1987). It was found that services for youth are sadly lacking. She concluded that: 1. Youth issues are a general area of concern. 2. Immigrant youth are only part of a larger issue. 3. Planning needs to take place for a variety of youth services, from lei s u r e time a c t i v i t i e s to street work. 4. How immigrant youth are served should be addressed within a larger plan for o v e r a l l youth programming (p. 72). 10 Social workers w i l l have more and more contact with immigrant and refugee youth. They w i l l be found in E.S.L. classes, job training programs, income security o f f i c e s , corrections and, mental health services. It i s becoming increasingly important for s o c i a l workers to develop cross-c u l t u r a l awareness and s k i l l s . Rationale for Selection of Issues The following four factors guided the selection of issues. F i r s t of a l l , immigrant and refugee youth i s a new and unpredicted problem area for s o c i a l workers in our m u l t i c u l t u r a l society. Immigration and settlement p o l i c i e s and programmes have been developed for adults. The children just happened to come along. I suppose i t was assumed that the parents would take care of them. But i t i s often the case that the parents are so busy healing their own wounds and having problems adjusting, that they are somewhat insensitive to problems their children may be having ( A l l o d i , 1980; Paredes, 1984). Secondly, most of the studies I have seen have focused on the professionals' perspective of what the issues are. L i t t l e q u a l i t a t i v e research has been done with the youth themselves. This study w i l l help to f i l l a gap in the research. 11 T h i r d , planners are p r e s e n t l y working on developing programmes f o r immigrant youth. T h i s knowledge i s needed to develop c u l t u r a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e and e f f e c t i v e s e r v i c e s . F i n a l l y , an audience e x i s t s f o r the study. Previous to d e c i d i n g on t h i s t o p i c I met with many people working i n the areas of immigrant s e r v i c e s and c r o s s - c u l t u r a l mental h e a l t h . Almost everyone i d e n t i f i e d the youth i s s u e as an important one and was e n t h u s i a s t i c i n t h e i r support of the p r o j e c t . Those i n t e r e s t e d i n the study i n c l u d e : immigrant s e r v i n g agencies, p o l i c y and programme planners of both the m u n i c i p a l and f e d e r a l governments, s c h o o l s , and workers i n the s o c i a l s e r v i c e and mental h e a l t h areas. 1 2 METHODOLOGY Research Design The purpose of t h i s study was to explore the experiences of Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth between 16 and 24 years of age who are now l i v i n g in Vancouver. An exploratory, q u a l i t a t i v e research method was chosen whereby the participants were able to t e l l their stories in open-ended, in-depth, taped, group and individual interviews. I speak Spanish and am familiar with the p o l i t i c a l s ituation and the l i v i n g conditions in E l Salvador and Guatemala, having v i s i t e d there several times. I planned to do six group interviews with five participants each, three groups with females and the other three with males, for a t o t a l of t h i r t y p a rticipants. It was f e l t that there would be s i g n i f i c a n t differences between the experiences of. the young men and the young women due to their move from a heavily male-dominated t r a d i t i o n a l society to a r e l a t i v e l y more progressive society where women have struggled more successfully for equal status. The decision to have separate groups for each sex was also due to the idea that the young women might express themselves more fre e l y among members of their own sex. The fact that the researcher i s a male may have had some ef f e c t , but that could not be helped in thi s study. An interview guide was developed and tested with three youth before the interviews for the project took place. The topics of 13 the i n t e r v i e w guide were developed from the l i t e r a t u r e review, i n c o n s u l t a t i o n with others who work with C e n t r a l American youth, and from my p e r s o n a l experience working with refugees. The youth who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the p i l o t i n t e r v i e w a l s o p rovided feedback and helped to modify the guide. The i n t e r v i e w guide i s reproduced i n Appendix "A". Contact persons from the L a t i n o community r e c r u i t e d youth to be i n t e r v i e w e d . The con t a c t persons i n c l u d e d a L a t i n o youth worker from B r i t a n n i a Community S e r v i c e s Centre, a p r i e s t from the H i s p a n i c C a t h o l i c M i s s i o n , and a s o c i a l worker from the M u l t i l i n g u a l O r i e n t a t i o n S e r v i c e f o r Immigrant Communities (M.O.S.A.I.C.). The p a r t i c i p a n t s were chosen purposely as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of the d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n s these youth f i n d themselves i n . Some were q u i t e young when they l e f t t h e i r home country and came to Canada with t h e i r p a r e n t s . Others came alone a f t e r l i v i n g i n the Un i t e d S t a t e s f o r a number of ye a r s . Some were doing q u i t e w e l l i n school and at home. Others were having s e r i o u s problems a d j u s t i n g . Some were refugee c l a i m a n t s who were w a i t i n g f o r the d e c i s i o n of whether they would be able to stay i n Canada or be deported. Some had been i n Canada f o r a very short time while others had been here f o r up to f i v e y e a r s . No in t e r v i e w s were done with youth i n t r o u b l e with the law or i n d e t e n t i o n c e n t r e s due to lack of a c c e s s . Such i n t e r v i e w s would be important f o r f u t u r e r e s e a r c h . 14 Focused i n t e r v i e w s were done i n Spanish. Merton (1956) d e f i n e s the focused i n t e r v i e w as having four c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . These are as f o l l o w s : (a) the persons to be int e r v i e w e d are known to have been i n v o l v e d i n a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n ; (b) the s i g n i f i c a n t elements, p a t t e r n s , processes, and t o t a l s t r u c t u r e of the s i t u a t i o n are p r o v i s i o n a l l y analyzed by the researc h e r p r i o r to the i n t e r v i e w s ; (c) an in t e r v i e w guide i s developed from the s i t u a t i o n a l a n a l y s i s to o u t l i n e the major areas of i n t e r e s t to the r e s e a r c h e r ; (d) the use of the i n t e r v i e w guide i s i n f o r m a l enough to allow the inte r v i e w e e s the freedom to cover areas that the r e s e a r c h e r had not i d e n t i f i e d i n the f i r s t a n a l y s i s and were not i n c l u d e d i n the guide. T h i s method was chosen because i t allowed the researcher to make the best use of the l i m i t e d time a v a i l a b l e f o r each o p p o r t u n i t y . A l l the p a r t i c i p a n t s were in t e r v i e w e d only once. The i n t e r v i e w guide i n s u r e d that t o p i c s of i n t e r e s t to the researc h e r were covered while s t i l l a l l o w i n g the p a r t i c i p a n t s the freedom to express what they f e l t was r e l e v a n t and important. Issues i n Implementation There were some d i f f i c u l t i e s i n o r g a n i z i n g the group i n t e r v i e w s . The o r i g i n a l idea was to have i n t r o d u c t o r y s e s s i o n s with groups to e x p l a i n the purpose of the study and to d i s t r i b u t e the consent forms. Appointments were to be made f o r the a c t u a l i n t e r v i e w s when the p a r t i c i p a n t s under 18 years of age would b r i n g the consent forms signed by t h e i r p a r e n t s . That p l a n d i d 15 not work very w e l l . The c o n t a c t people i n the community arranged i n t r o d u c t o r y meetings with groups of youth. The study was e x p l a i n e d and, as an i n c e n t i v e , a l l p a r t i c i p a n t s were t o l d they would be e l i g i b l e f o r a draw f o r the p r i z e of a sweatsuit. Appointments f o r the i n t e r v i e w s were made at the i n t r o d u c t o r y meetings but very few p a r t i c i p a n t s would show up. My c o n t a c t people suggested I do away with the i n t r o d u c t o r y s e s s i o n s and conduct the i n t e r v i e w s while I had the p a r t i c i p a n t s present, the o l d " b i r d i n the hand" theory. So the s t r a t e g y was changed. The c o n t a c t people s t a r t e d to e x p l a i n the study and d i s t r i b u t e the consent forms to p o s s i b l e p a r t i c i p a n t s . Even then the a c t u a l r a t e of people keeping the appointment was low. Group i n t e r v i e w s planned f o r f i v e p a r t i c i p a n t s became i n d i v i d u a l i n t e r v i e w s when only one person showed up. The only i n t e r v i e w with f i v e p a r t i c i p a n t s took p l a c e one Saturday afternoon when the youth worker c a l l e d me from B r i t a n n i a s a y i n g he had f i v e young men there at the Teen Centre. I went r i g h t down and i n t e r v i e w e d them. They were a l l over 18 and signed t h e i r own consent forms. G e t t i n g female p a r t i c i p a n t s was even more d i f f i c u l t . A s o c i a l worker from M.O.S.A.I.C. had o f f e r e d to h e l p r e c r u i t e young women f o r the i n t e r v i e w s . However, she unexpectedly changed jobs and was no longer a v a i l a b l e . The male c o n t a c t s proved i n e f f e c t u a l i n f i n d i n g female p a r t i c i p a n t s . I t seems that young L a t i n o women do not u s u a l l y go out the way young men do and 16 are t h e r e f o r e not that r e a d i l y a c c e s s i b l e . The B r i t a n n i a Community Centre, where the i n t e r v i e w s were being h e l d , seems to have the r e p u t a t i o n of a pl a c e where tough guys hang out; at l e a s t the parents of the young women seem to th i n k t h a t . I t was necessary to r e c r u i t more women c o n t a c t s . I t took f i v e women from the L a t i n o community t a l k i n g to mothers of young women to get access to i n t e r v i e w nine female p a r t i c i p a n t s . Some of the i n t e r v i e w s were h e l d i n t h e i r homes. A l l of the p a r t i c i p a n t s were very w i l l i n g to t a l k and were q u i t e open and a r t i c u l a t e . o n c e the i n t e r v i e w was happening. Many even expressed g r a t i t u d e f o r the o p p o r t u n i t y to t e l l t h e i r s t o r i e s . The d i f f i c u l t y i n g a i n i n g access to female p a r t i c i p a n t s seems to r e f l e c t the s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e of the C e n t r a l American community. The young women were more p r o t e c t e d by the f a m i l i e s and i t was important to go through the mother to be able to in t e r v i e w them. In one unique case i t was a male member of a s t r e e t gang who r e c r u i t e d one of the female members to be in t e r v i e w e d . Due to the d i f f i c u l t i e s i n o r g a n i z i n g the groups, i t took ten i n t e r v i e w s i n s t e a d of the s i x o r i g i n a l l y planned to be able to t a l k with t h i r t e e n males and eleven females. Four of the i n t e r v i e w s were with i n d i v i d u a l young women. See Table I f o r a break-down of the number and gender of the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n each i n t e r v i e w . 17 ************************************************** TABLE I Number and Gender of P a r t i c i p a n t s p e r I n t e r v i e w I n t e r v i e w # M a l e s F e m a l e s I II I I I IV V VI V I I V I I I IX X 3 m a l e s 2 m a l e s 5 m a l e s 3 m a l e s 2 f e m a l e s 1 f e m a l e 1 f e m a l e 1 f e m a l e 2 f e m a l e s 1 f e m a l e 3 f e m a l e s SUBTOTAL 13 m a l e s 11 f e m a l e s TOTAL 24 p a r t i c i p a n t s ***************************************************************** A l l o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s were i n t e r v i e w e d o n l y o n c e . "The i n t e r v i e w g u i d e h e l p s make i n t e r v i e w i n g a c r o s s a number o f d i f f e r e n t p e o p l e more s y s t e m a t i c and c o m p r e h e n s i v e by d e l i m i t i n g t h e i s s u e s t o be d i s c u s s e d i n t h e i n t e r v i e w " ( P a t t o n , 1980, p. 2 0 0 ) . S y s t e m a t i c a l l y c o v e r i n g t h e same t o p i c s w i t h d i f f e r e n t p e o p l e makes c o m p a r i s o n s and d a t a a n a l y s i s e a s i e r . T h i s h e l p e d t o keep t h e i n t e r v i e w s f o c u s e d and under c o n t r o l w h i l e s t i l l a l l o w i n g t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s t h e f l e x i b i l i t y t o t a l k a b o u t t h i n g s n o t i n c l u d e d i n t h e i n t e r v i e w g u i d e . In t h i s way r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n o r i d e a s n o t p r e v i o u s l y i m a g i n e d by t h e r e s e a r c h e r were g e n e r a t e d . Thus t h e p u r p o s e and t h e f o r m a t o f t h e f o c u s e d i n t e r v i e w c o i n c i d e d n i c e l y w i t h t h e o b j e c t i v e s o f t h i s s t u d y . 18 The i n d i v i d u a l i n t e r v i e w s p r o v i d e d more in-depth i n f o r m a t i o n on some of the themes. The p a r t i c i p a n t s were f r e e to t a l k a l l they wanted without having to t h i n k about g i v i n g others the o p p o r t u n i t y . The group i n t e r v i e w s seemed to cover a wider range of t o p i c s at a somewhat more s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l . P a r t i c i p a n t s would keep t h e i r statements q u i t e s h o r t . In one of the groups however, one person became the spokesperson f o r the r e s t who would b a s i c a l l y agree with what was being s a i d . The other p a r t i c i p a n t s i n that p a r t i c u l a r group had to be asked q u e s t i o n s d i r e c t l y . The group format worked q u i t e w e l l as a whole and the comments of one p a r t i c i p a n t would s t i m u l a t e responses of another. The d i s c u s s i o n s o f t e n became q u i t e dynamic with the p a r t i c i p a n t s t a l k i n g to each other i n s t e a d of to the r e s e a r c h e r . The p a r t i c i p a n t s were open and o f t e n shared very p e r s o n a l and p a i n f u l e x p e r i e n c e s . A l l of them were very concerned t h a t the i n f o r m a t i o n they shared would be kept c o n f i d e n t i a l and that they would not be i d e n t i f i e d with t h e i r comments i n any way. The content of the i n d i v i d u a l i n t e r v i e w s was not s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t from the content of the group i n t e r v i e w s . A l l the i n t e r v i e w s were tape recorded, a l l o w i n g the i n t e r v i e w e r to focus a l l h i s a t t e n t i o n on the i n t e r v i e w p r o c e s s . A f i e l d l o g was a l s o kept to r e c o r d s i g n i f i c a n t d e t a i l s and experiences i n making the c o n t a c t s , s e t t i n g up the appointments, and i n the i n t e r v i e w s themselves. Summaries were w r i t t e n a f t e r each i n t e r v i e w and d e t a i l e d notes were taken l i s t e n i n g to each tape i n Spanish. A l l ten tapes were then t r a n s l a t e d and 19 t r a n s c r i b e d . I p e r s o n a l l y t r a n s l a t e d four of the tapes, three were t r a n s l a t e d by M.O.S.A.I.C. Community T r a n s l a t i o n S e r v i c e , and the three others were t r a n s l a t e d by another very competent t r a n s l a t o r recommended by a L a t i n o c o n t a c t person. The t r a n s l a t o r s a l l spoke E n g l i s h as t h e i r f i r s t language. I t i s much e a s i e r to t r a n s l a t e from a second language i n t o your f i r s t language than i t i s the other way around. One of the tapes was t r a n s l a t e d by a person whose f i r s t language was Spanish, but the E n g l i s h t r a n s l a t i o n was clumsy so I had that tape t r a n s l a t e d a second time. I checked a l l the t r a n s l a t i o n s f o r accuracy, not only i n the l i t e r a l sense but a l s o to insure that the more s u b t l e meanings and innuendos were not l o s t . T h i s was done by reading the t r a n s l a t i o n s while l i s t e n i n g to the tapes i n Spanish. T h i s method worked very w e l l , a l l o w i n g f o r in-depth and f r e e f l o w i n g i n t e r v i e w s unhampered by the use of t h i r d p a r t y i n t e r p r e t e r s . 20 C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the Study P o p u l a t i o n The study p o p u l a t i o n was made up of Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth between the ages of 16 and 24 y e a r s . T h i s age group was chosen to demonstrate the d i f f e r e n t i s s u e s f o r youth i n t r a n s i t i o n from adolescence to adulthood while adapting to l i f e i n a d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e . Youth from E l Salvador and Guatemala come from s i m i l a r s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n s . As one p a r t i c i p a n t expressed, "Guatemala and E l Salvador are very s i m i l a r . The two of us (one from E l Salvador and the other from Guatemala) c o u l d say we are s i s t e r s because our c o u n t r i e s are s i s t e r s and are e x p e r i e n c i n g the same t h i n g s ; war and kidnapping." See Table II f o r the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the twenty-four youth i n t e r v i e w e d . ******************************************** TABLE II C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the Sample Males Females Range of Age 17-24 16-21 From E l Salvador 1 1 9 From Guatemala 2 2 L i v i n g with f a m i l y 6 11 L i v i n g alone (refugee claimants )7 O Nuclear f a m i l y i n t a c t 3 7 Nuclear f a m i l y not i n t a c t 10 4 In school ( i n c l u d i n g E.S.L.) 7 11 No c l a s s e s of any k i n d 6 0 Employed 0 1 Unemployed 13 10 ***************************************************************** 21 Data A n a l y s i s The t r a n s c r i p t s c o n t a i n e d an overwhelming amount of r i c h d a t a . I went through the t r a n s c r i p t s l i n e by l i n e to code the data f o r d i f f e r e n t concepts and e x p e r i e n c e s . The i n i t i a l codes were w r i t t e n i n the margins of the t r a n s c r i p t s . T h i s process served to "break the data apart a n a l y t i c a l l y " and open i t to i n q u i r y ( S t r a u s s , 1988), a l l o w i n g me to immerse myself i n the data and become very f a m i l i a r with i t . During the process of coding I a l s o wrote t h e o r e t i c a l memos to organize thoughts and i n s i g h t s generated by the data as w e l l as to remind myself of other areas to explore with the youth. The next step i n the a n a l y s i s was to code the i n i t i a l codes. A l l the codes generated from the i n t e r v i e w s were grouped together under second order codes or c a t e g o r i e s . These c a t e g o r i e s were generated by both the data from the i n t e r v i e w s and the main q u e s t i o n s i n the i n t e r v i e w guide. For example, a q u e s t i o n about the youth's p e r c e p t i o n s of Canada generated such c a t e g o r i e s as; c u l t u r a l d i f f e r e n c e s , d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , settlement problems, economic o p p o r t u n i t i e s , and e d u c a t i o n . Ten c a t e g o r i e s were i d e n t i f i e d which were then grouped i n t o four core c a t e g o r i e s . These four core c a t e g o r i e s a r e : War and Trauma, Ad a p t a t i o n , Family Dynamics and, P r o s p e c t s . These became the main headings in the f i n d i n g s chapter. The coding schedule i s reproduced i n Appendix "B". 22 Brief p r o f i l e s of individual cases were written to i l l u s t r a t e some of the di f f e r e n t situations young Salvadoreans and Guatemalans fi n d themselves i n . The p r o f i l e s are found at the beginning of the findings chapter. Quotes are also used throughout the findings chapter to bring the experiences of these young people to l i f e . Their own words t e l l their s t o r i e s much better than I could. My purpose in thi s study was to give them a voice. A Qualitative Approach Service providers and planners have recognized that services are needed for immigrant and refugee youth. In order to develop c u l t u r a l l y appropriate and e f f e c t i v e services i t i s important to learn from the youth themselves. Qualitative methods "lend themselves to a description of complex s o c i a l processes and the subjective perceptions of these processes by people involved in them. Thus, q u a l i t a t i v e methods are ideal for conceptual development and hypothesis formulation" (Epstein, 1985, p.273). Qualitative research methods allow the participants to describe the i r experiences in their own words and "teach" the researcher what i t i s l i k e for them (Leninger, 1985). The descriptive function in research plays an important role in developing knowledge about c l i e n t needs, problems, and attitudes toward service (Reid and Smith, 1981). 23 Q u a n t i t a t i v e methods with closed-ended q u e s t i o n s at t h i s e x p l o r a t o r y stage would l i m i t the p a r t i c i p a n t s ' responses to the i s s u e s the researcher was f a m i l i a r with, not a l l o w i n g t h e i r p e r s o n a l p i c t u r e to develop. The p a r t i c i p a n t s were approached as experts who know b e t t e r than anyone what i t i s l i k e to be a refugee youth i n a new c u l t u r e . The researcher was able to i d e n t i f y t h e i r major concerns and problems, thereby minimizing h i s own ideas and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of how these youth viewed t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s . Q u a l i t a t i v e methods recognize the present lack of knowledge i n the area and f a c i l i t a t e a d e s c r i p t i o n of the complex and m u l t i p l e aspects of C e n t r a l American youth adapting to l i f e i n Canada. L i m i t a t i o n s Q u a l i t a t i v e methodology takes a long time. The whole process of data c o l l e c t i o n was labour i n t e n s i v e and slow. The method produced a l a r g e amount of data. I t was necessary to choose the most important areas to be examined i n depth. I t was impossible to use a l l of the data. The r e l i a b i l i t y of the r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s depends on the r e s e a r c h e r ' s h o l i s t i c understanding of the phenomena and the a b i l i t y to s y n t h e s i z e and analyze the data. I t i s not known whether another researcher s t u d y i n g the same p o p u l a t i o n would come up with the same f i n d i n g s . The f i n d i n g s of t h i s study are s p e c i f i c to the twenty-four youth i n t e r v i e w e d . One cannot s a f e l y 24 generalize, even to other Salvadorean or Guatemalan youth. Others may have had quite d i f f e r e n t experiences and perceptions. Some of the problems and issues i d e n t i f i e d , however, are known to be common to other immigrant and, espec i a l l y , refugee populations (Beiser, 1986). 25 FINDINGS In t h i s study youth from E l Salvador and Guatemala have talked about th e i r experiences, both positive and negative, adapting to their l i f e in e x i l e . I use the word " e x i l e " because these people were forced to leave their home countries. Many did not want to come. Some had personal experiences of b r u t a l i t y and terror and were forced to choose e x i l e . Others wanted to stay in spite of a l l the problems and danger, but adults decided for them that they would have to move. Adapting to l i f e in a new and foreign culture i s a long and complex process. Several categories of concerns and needs emerged from an analysis of the interviews. Experiences of violence and trauma have emotional and psychological implications a f f e c t i n g their adaptation here. Separation and loss of family members and friends was also a common theme. The c o n f l i c t between the c u l t u r a l values of t h e i r parents and the c u l t u r a l values learned here often caused problems in family r e l a t i o n s . Discrimination from Canadians and su r p r i s i n g l y , from other Latinos, was a common theme for many part i c i p a n t s . The existence of Latino youth gangs was also something that has affected and concerns a l l of the participants that were interviewed. Following i s a summary of the findings. Four short p r o f i l e s of the participants are included here to i l l u s t r a t e some of the situations the youth find themselves i n . Names and other 26 i d e n t i f y i n g factors have been changed to insure the c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y of the p a r t i c i p a n t s . P r o f i l e s of Participants P r o f i l e #1 Pedro i s 19 years old and i s from E l Salvador. His father was kidnapped and murdered. Pedro t r i e d to find out who was responsible by asking the police and m i l i t a r y a u t h o r i t i e s . One afternoon as he was walking home from school he was grabbed by three men, forced into a jeep, and driven into the countryside. Pedro managed to jump out of the moving jeep and run away. The three men chased him but Pedro was younger and faster and he escaped through the brush into the h i l l side. He knew that he was now on the h i t l i s t of the death squads and that he would have to leave his country and go into e x i l e l i k e thousands of other Salvadoreans. Pedro's journey to Canada was long and dangerous. Traveling without visas or documents he was able to leave E l Salvador and make his way through Guatemala, Mexico and the United States. He traveled alone and was always in danger of being caught and deported back to E l Salvador. He arrived here in June, 1988 and applied for refugee status. At the time of t h i s writing, f i v e months l a t e r , he i s s t i l l waiting to find out i f he w i l l be accepted by Canadian immigration authorities and be allowed to l i v e here. 27 For now he feels l i k e he i s on hold. As a refugee claimant he i s e l i g i b l e for hardship assistance from welfare. He i s not allowed to work or to attend E.S.L. but even i f he was i t would be very d i f f i c u l t for him. He suffers from insomnia. When he does manage to f a l l asleep he i s awakened by nightmares. Subsequently he i s t i r e d a l l the time and unable to concentrate; he feels very alone. His family are a l l back in E l Salvador. He does not speak English, he l i v e s alone in a cheap hotel downtown. He knows he can go to M.O.S.A.I.C or to the Salvation Army for emergency help but he does not know what to do about his insomnia and lack of energy. He went to a evangelical church once to ask them to pray for him. He worries about his family back home and fears that they are in danger. He would l i k e to bring his mother to Canada but does not even know i f he w i l l be allowed to stay. When he f l e d from E l Salvador he was just about to graduate from high school. He planned on attending university. Here in Canada, i f he i s accepted, he w i l l be too old to enter the public school system. Pedro i s aware that he w i l l not have much of a future without a high school diploma. He spends his time in his room or walking around on the streets. Most of the people he knows are other young Latino men in similar s i t u a t i o n s . He i s in a dilemma. He feels grateful to Canada for l e t t i n g him in and helping him the way that i t has. At least he feels safe here for the present time. On the other hand he feels l i k e his l i f e has no meaning here. He i s not doing anything worthwhile. He feels 28 l i k e he i s just surviving. He i s ashamed of being on welfare and is a f r a i d that Canadians w i l l think he i s a worthless parasite that does not want to work. He wants to go back to his family and his country but his l i f e i s in danger there. He feels that Canadians do not understand why he i s here and that they do not want him to be here. Like many refugee claimants, Pedro has had traumatic experiences that he w i l l suffer from for a long time. He belongs to a group of people who have the greatest need and the fewest resources and services available to them. P r o f i l e #2 Maria i s 17 years old. She came to Canada from E l Salvador two years ago to l i v e with her mother whom she had not seen for ten years. She never knew her father. Her mother had gone to the United States to work to support her family back in E l Salvador. She worked in Los Angeles for eight years and then applied to come to Canada as a landed immigrant. Maria l i v e d with her grandparents and considered them to be her parents. They were very poor but Maria was happy. She l i v e d in a neighbourhood where she knew everybody and had lo t s of friends. The war became very intense in the area they were l i v i n g in and i t was decided that i t would be better for Maria i f she joined her mother in Canada. Maria did not want to come to Canada. She f e l t l i k e she did not even know her mother. She 29 begged her grandmother to l e t her stay but the a d u l t s had decided that she would be s a f e r i n Canada and have b e t t e r o p p o r t u n i t i e s to study and make something of h e r s e l f . Her grandmother t o l d her t h a t they c o u l d no longer support her and that she would have to go. Maria a r r i v e d i n Vancouver dur i n g the winter and the f i r s t shock was the change in c l i m a t e . The world seemed c o l d and i n h o s p i t a b l e . She found Canadian people to be c l o s e d and p r i v a t e compared to the open and e x p r e s s i v e people i n the neighbourhood where she had grown up. She was heart-broken. She spent her f i r s t year here locked up i n her room c r y i n g . Maria and her mother were s t r a n g e r s to each other. Her mother thought Maria should be g r a t e f u l to her f o r having sponsored her and given her the o p p o r t u n i t y to come to Canada. Maria f e l t t h a t her mother had abandoned her when she was a l i t t l e c h i l d and now was r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t e a r i n g her away from her loved ones and her country. They had a hard time communicating r i g h t from the s t a r t . When Maria s t a r t e d making f r i e n d s and wanting to go out with boys, her mother became very o v e r - p r o t e c t i v e and s t r i c t . She was a f r a i d that Maria would be c o r r u p t e d by the more " l i b e r a l " moral values of Canadian s o c i e t y and get i n v o l v e d with s t r e e t gangs, drugs and sex. Maria f e l t t h a t her mother was being unreasonable and she r e b e l l e d . T h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p degenerated to the p o i n t where they c o u l d no longer t a l k to each o t h e r . F o r t u n a t e l y Maria a l s o has an aunt l i v i n g i n 3 0 Vancouver. She i s now l i v i n g with her aunt and has decided that she wants to go to university and study education so that she can go back after the "victory of the revolution" and be of greater service to her people. She has become involved with Salvadorean s o l i d a r i t y movements here. She has decided that she w i l l work hard to get an education that w i l l allow her to be of use for the future development of E l Salvador. Her decision has helped her to adapt to her situation here and now but she wants to go back home and she i s working towards that. P r o f i l e #3 Carlos i s 17 years old. He came to Canada from San Francisco with his mother, father, and younger s i s t e r . Carlos's family l e f t Guatemala when he was 10 years old. He thought they were only going on vacation. The family l i v e d in a Latino neighbourhood in San Francisco. Carlos went to school where he studied both Spanish and English. The Latino community was quite large and he f i t right i n . He had no major problems adapting. Two years ago the family came to Vancouver. Carlos speaks English and has done very well in school. His time in C a l i f o r n i a , with the mix of Latino and North American cultures, has helped him to adjust to l i f e here. 31 He w i l l be graduating from high school t h i s year and w i l l be applying for early admission to the University of B r i t i s h Columbia with a scholarship. P r o f i l e #4 Juana i s 21 years old. She was born in E l Salvador and has l i v e d in Canada for five years. She came alone when she was 16 years old. Her cousin, a s o l d i e r , was k i l l e d in E l Salvador and she wanted to join the army and get revenge. She was very strong w i l l e d . Her mother was a f r a i d for her and pleaded with her to leave. She went to Mexico, l i v e d and worked there for awhile, applied to the Canadian Consulate there and came to Canada as a landed immigrant. She was pregnant when she got here. Her partner arrived nine months afte r the c h i l d ' s b i r t h . They now have two children. The couple had big problems at f i r s t because the man wanted the woman to do a l l the house work. Juana said that they were both studying and they should share the work. It looked l i k e they were going to break up. But they got counselling from someone at King Edward Campus, Vancouver Community College. They worked i t out and are s t i l l together. Juana l i v e d with a Canadian family when she f i r s t got here. That seemed very positive and helped her to adapt smoothly and learn English. 32 She s t i l l feels torn between staying here and returning to E l Salvador because her whole family i s back there. She thinks about graduating as a pharmacist and going back to l i v e . But then she thinks of her own children who were born here and she does not think they would be happy there. It i s a dilemma for her. War and Trauma The four major headings in t h i s section are War and Trauma, Adaptation, Family Dynamics and, Prospects. The numbers after the quotes indicate the interview and the page number the quote was taken from. For example, ( V I I I - 1 0 ) indicates the quote came from Interview VIII, page ten. Both E l Salvador and Guatemala are presently embroiled in economic and p o l i t i c a l struggles that have cost tens of thousands of l i v e s . Most of the victims have been c i v i l i a n s caught in a wave of repression as American-backed government forces try to destroy any base for a popular l i b e r a t i o n movement. For many of the youth interviewed the war had become an everyday occurrence. One young woman, who was ten years old when she l e f t E l Salvador, said she could not imagine a country without war. Another explained; 33 The war got worse i n 1980. I t was l i k e a b a l l of f i r e in the middle of our community. Every n i g h t we heard machine guns. The people were very worried at f i r s t . They d i d n ' t know what to do. But time passed and a f t e r awhile they d i d n ' t c a r e . They j u s t s a i d , "Well, we're going to shut the doors, i t ' s going to s t a r t now. They even knew what time the f i g h t i n g was going to s t a r t ! We d i d n ' t know who was f i g h t i n g . We j u s t saw the w a l l s p a i n t e d (with s l o g a n s ) . Now I know who they are and why they are f i g h t i n g . We saw blood and dead bodies; f r i e n d s of ours, neighbours, good f r i e n d s . The next day we would see them i n the s t r e e t s , f l a t t e n e d . (VIII-10) Youth i s a dangerous age i n E l Salvador and Guatemala. The armed f o r c e s have f o r c e d r e c r u i t m e n t . I t i s s i m i l a r to the d r a f t except that young men are p i c k e d up on the s t r e e t s or taken o f f buses on the way to school and pressed i n t o m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e . Forced recruitment has become very f a s h i o n a b l e . Young people who are not o l d enough yet go to war, go to f i g h t and l a t e r r e t u r n and are abandoned and don't r e c e i v e a cen t . They come with t h e i r l e g s blown o f f from the mines. Since they are no longer u s e f u l they are j u s t abandoned... The young people are e x p l o i t e d , they are not given s c h o o l i n g ; the more ignorant the p o p u l a t i o n , the b e t t e r f o r them (the government). (IV-3) Whereas many young people who are of m i l i t a r y age, i f t h e i r parents are w e l l o f f and have money, they aren't touched and so there are only the campesinos and poor people. Now that they've f i n i s h e d o f f the o l d e r people, they are s t a r t i n g with the c h i l d r e n . (IV-4) Youth are a l s o p ressured to j o i n g u e r i l l a movements or are suspected by the m i l i t a r y of being sympathetic to the g u e r i l l a s . In the c a p i t a l there were so many students, many k i d s my age belong to p a r a m i l i t a r y groups. There were a l s o a l o t of c o n t r a d i c t i o n s at the u n i v e r s i t y . There were s t r u g g l e s and sometimes the g u e r i l l a groups would go to the s t r e e t s and burn buses and cars...The m i l i t a r y s u f f e r s and then they bother the people more. My house was searched. They k i l l many innocent people i n c o n f r o n t a t i o n s , they j u s t shoot at 34 random. P e o p l e t h a t j u s t h a p p e n t o be p a s s i n g n e a r b y show up d e a d t h e n e x t d a y . ( 1 - 7 ) The p o l i c e a n d t h e m i l i t a r y a r e i n s t r u m e n t s o f r e p r e s s i o n i n E l S a l v a d o r a n d G u a t e m a l a . They a r e u s e d t o c r e a t e an a t m o s p h e r e o f f e a r a n d t e r r o r i n t h e g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n s o t h a t o n l y a d e d i c a t e d m i n o r i t y w o u l d t h i n k o f o p p o s i n g t h e g o v e r n m e n t . I was i n t e r e s t e d i n how t h e s e y o u n g p e o p l e v i e w e d t h e p o l i c e a n d t h e a u t h o r i t i e s h e r e i n C a n a d a . H e r e t h e p o l i c e l o o k a f t e r t h e c i t i z e n s . Of c o u r s e i f somebody d o e s s o m e t h i n g b a d , he h a s p r o b l e m s , b u t a good c i t i z e n h a s no p r o b l e m . You d o n ' t e x p e c t t h e p o l i c e t o s u d d e n l y s a y "Hey! S t o p ! Up a g a i n s t t h e w a l l ! P u t y o u r h a n d s up a n d s p r e a d y o u r l e g s b e c a u s e I'm g o i n g t o s e a r c h y o u ! " T h i s h a p p e n s f r e q u e n t l y t h e r e . You go w a l k i n g down t h e s t r e e t a n d t h e y p u t y o u l i k e t h a t , y o u d o n ' t know why, y o u g e t n e r v o u s a n d do s t u p i d t h i n g s w h i c h t h e y i n t e r p r e t a s i f y o u ' r e h i d i n g s o m e t h i n g . A t t h a t moment y o u d o n ' t know w h a t ' s g o i n g t o h a p p e n . F o r e x a m p l e , a f r i e n d o f m i n e was w a l k i n g w i t h h i s s i s t e r a n d s u d d e n l y t h e y were p u t i n t o a V.W. a n d t a k e n away and n e v e r h e a r d o f a g a i n . ( I V - 1 4 ) G e n e r a l l y t h e p e o p l e i n t e r v i e w e d f e l t p o s i t i v e l y a b o u t t h e p o l i c e h e r e . They f e l t t h a t t h e p o l i c e a n d a u t h o r i t i e s d e s e r v e r e s p e c t . Some y o u n g men h o w e v e r , f e l t t h a t t h e y had e x p e r i e n c e d some d i s c r i m i n a t i o n f r o m p o l i c e . I c a n ' t s a y t h a t t h e y a l l p r a c t i s e d i s c r i m i n a t i o n b u t t h e r e i s a l w a y s someone, l i k e t h a t p o l i c e m a n t h a t s t o p p e d me. He s e a r c h e d t h e c a r a s i f I were a d r u g p u s h e r . F o r a p e r s o n who h a s n e v e r been m i x e d up i n t h o s e t h i n g s , i t s h a k e s y o u up. (111-1 ) 3 5 Except f o r those who l e f t E l Salvador when they were too young to remember the war, everyone I in t e r v i e w e d had h o r r o r s t o r i e s to t e l l about kidnappings, k i l l i n g s and t o r t u r e that had touched themselves p e r s o n a l l y or had touched f a m i l y or f r i e n d s . One young woman rep o r t e d that her mother had been kidnapped and h e l d f o r ransom. She was found t i e d up i n the back of a car two days l a t e r . Those two days were r e a l l y scary and a f t e r t h at we s t a r t e d g e t t i n g t h r e a t e n i n g c a l l s and we had to move. Only my c o u s i n s , who we are r e a l l y c l o s e with, knew where we were. I couldn't go to school f o r some d a y s . . . a f t e r school t h i s guy was there who s a i d that my dad had asked him to p i c k me up, but I s a i d , "No way, I don't even know you". The p r i n c i p a l of the school stayed with me u n t i l my mom came and p i c k e d me up...But i t was r e a l l y s c a r y . Sometimes I remember i t a l l . (V-12) War i s a traumatic experience f o r everyone. These people l i v e d with a constant t h r e a t of v i o l e n c e and death. The whole p o p u l a t i o n i s traumatized. There you are always e x p e c t i n g something to happen. For example, there might be a car bomb, or a bomb p l a n t e d i n a park, maybe you're w a i t i n g f o r a bus and a time bomb explodes. You don't f e e l s a f e , from one moment to the next you can be dead. (IV-14) Post Traumatic S t r e s s D i s o r d e r Traumatic events o f t e n leave emotional and p s y c h o l o g i c a l s c a r s . The American P s y c h i a t r i c A s s o c i a t i o n (1987) g i v e s the f o l l o w i n g d e s c r i p t i o n of traumatic s t r e s s : The person has experienced an event that i s o u t s i d e the range of usual human experience and that would be markedly d i s t r e s s i n g to almost anyone, e.g., s e r i o u s t h r e a t to one's l i f e or p h y s i c a l i n t e g r i t y , s e r i o u s t h r e a t or harm to one's 36 children, spouse, or other close r e l a t i v e s and friends, sudden destruction of one's home or community; or seeing another person who has recently been, or i s being, seriously injured or k i l l e d as a result of an accident or physical violence. (P.146) The participants in t h i s study, and refugees in general, are "at r i s k " for suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.). To be accepted as refugees by Canadian immigration authorities they must demonstrate a "well-founded fear of persecution" (Canada, 1985), and that persecution often leaves scars. Symptoms l i s t e d by the young people I interviewed included: crying, depression, nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, insomnia and i n a b i l i t y to concentrate. Family c o n f l i c t s , while l i k e l y to occur in families who have not had traumatic experiences, are common in families who have had such experiences due to problems with trust, intimacy and lack of communication. The following account of a young man whose father was k i l l e d in Guatemala i s an example of post traumatic stress that needs immediate attention. Of a l l my problems, the most d i f f i c u l t for me i s when I am sleeping, when I am f a l l i n g asleep, after one hour, always, always I wake up thinking about the problem I had in my country...This i s a horrib l e thing, not to be able to sleep and then the next day get up with no desire to do anything. Sometimes I stay in bed a l l day. Sincerely I would l i k e to find a solution to thi s problem. I wish someone would t e l l me what type of person I can t e l l about my problem. I was walking and three persons forced me into a jeep and took me away. It i s there that I begin to have the nightmare. I ran away and escaped from them. They followed me, running in the mountain, running, running and sometimes I think they r e a l l y caught me. And I wake up. I l e f t my country. Sometimes I would l i k e to return to make them pay for what they did with my father, because i t i s 37 very hard to know who k i l l e d your father and not be able to make them pay for what they did. Sometimes I f e e l l i k e k i l l i n g them, but I know that isn't the right thing to do. Sometimes I remember the l a s t time he went away, I was sleeping and I said to my brother "why didn't you wake me?" He said our father was going to come back but I had a feeling that I wouldn't see him again. I f e l t very sad. "Why didn't you wake me?" These are the things I remember. (1-9) This young man was receiving no professional help for his insomnia and nightmares. When he t r i e d to talk to his Latino friends about his problems they laughed and made fun of him. The "macho" values, so strong in t r a d i t i o n a l Latino culture, discourage men from expressing pain and weakness. In desperation he had gone to an evangelical mission to ask them to pray for him. P.T.S.D. i s considered to be acute when the symptoms occur within six months of the traumatic event. Early treatment has a good prognosis for remission measured as a reduction in such symptoms as insomnia and anxiety. I f , through denial or shame, the symptoms are repressed and do not emerge u n t i l years later after another s t r e s s f u l event, the condition i s considered to be chronic and i s often more d i f f i c u l t to treat. Furthermore, i t can be inferred that there i s l i t t l e hope or tendency for spontaneous recovery (Somnier and Genefke, 1986). Memories of k i l l i n g s and violence do not just go away. They can be repressed for a time but they must be dealt with in a therapeutic re l a t i o n s h i p . Early treatment can avoid years of suffering. 38 When I f i r s t got here I had l o t s of nightmares, violent dreams of massacres and bombings. I was never in one but I always dreamt about them, that I k i l l e d l o t s of people or someone wanted to k i l l people dear to me. That's another reason why I went to the doctor and he gave me some drugs to sleep. And we also talked of doing relaxation before going to sleep. (X-14) This impedes me, whether I want i t to or not, from having a normal l i f e . It's r e a l l y hard. One could party a l l the time and go to dances but i t ' s always there in the mind, thinking. (VII) Intrusive memories and flashbacks cause d i f f i c u l t i e s in school and in l i f e in general due to problems concentrating. I guess the worst part i s that I s t i l l remember things and that makes i t worse for me here. I know I w i l l never forget them but maybe at least they w i l l fade away some day. It's r e a l l y d i f f i c u l t . After coming from Guatemala I was r e a l l y depressed. The whole month of January and the f i r s t three days of February I was r e a l l y depressed about everything. I used to remember the things that happened. I didn't want to remember them and I used to cry a l o t . There were days I didn't want to go to school, I didn't want to talk to anybody. But then I went to my counsellor and she helped me out a l o t . I'm not l i k e I used to be. My parents and I are r e a l l y close so they help me out a l o t . I'm starting to believe in God again but i t ' s s t i l l pretty hard. I know the memories won't go away. Sometimes I s t i l l get r e a l l y nervous and start crying and can't concentrate or anything. (V-12) Counselling helped t h i s young woman. She was fortunate to be in school and have access to a counsellor. She was also fortunate to have come with her family who could give her support. Considering the tragedy and trauma they have experienced, many of the youth are coping quite well. Sometimes when you remember that some of your friends have been k i l l e d , or your family, you f e e l l i k e crying. But you have to get over these things even i f i t hurts. (VI-9) 39 Coping methods include, sending money to family members back home, trying to educate Canadians about what i s happening in their countries and why they are here, s o l i d a r i t y work for li b e r a t i o n groups back there, talking with other Latinos, l i s t e n i n g to music, going for walks. Being able to do something l i k e study or work also helps although intrusive memories and emotions are often very d i s t r a c t i n g . Helping others who are having d i f f i c u l t i e s i s another way of coping. I would try to take my friends out to l e t them see the beautiful things in thi s country. We would go for walks or whatever so they could d i s t r a c t themselves and have something to do. Because just thinking and thinking you just get old. And you don't do anything. You've got to see things p o s i t i v e l y . There are a l o t of groups that send money to their countries and one can help. Why not start there? That i s how I t r i e d to help my friends. (VIII-4) Refugee Claimants The young man who to l d of his insomnia i s a refugee claimant. He does not have any family here and l i v e s alone in a downtown hotel. A l l of the refugee claimants interviewed, young men between the ages of 18 and 24, had come alone. They had made their way through Mexico and the United States to seek asylum in Canada. They had applied for refugee status within Canada or at the border and were anxiously awaiting a decision. These young men f e l t i s o l a t e d and alone. As refugee claimants they were e l i g i b l e for p r o v i n c i a l hardship assistance which provides for food and shelter. They are not allowed to work nor are they e l i g i b l e for other s o c i a l services. They a l l reported symptoms 40 of anxiety and stress but none were receiving any counselling or treatment. I'm in Canada, alone in my room. I think about my family; that something has happened to them. It's l i k e a nightmare...You've l e f t your mother, your brother, your uncle, the family i s there. You're always thinking about the people there because you're a f r a i d something w i l l happen to them. It preoccupies you. It aff e c t s how you act. You even walk around with a defiant attitude in the street because you are affected by what you were dreaming about...It bothers you a l o t . (Ill—11) An 18 year old refugee claimant told about his fr u s t r a t i o n with the immigration bureaucracy. I applied at the border but haven't received an answer. I had an immigration hearing scheduled but i t was cancelled; that i s , now I don't know. I'm fe a r f u l for my status...I f a l l under the new law that the government imposed on people who were non-residents which has caused several deportations back to countries of o r i g i n . I'm here l e g a l l y because I applied, but I have no status to rely on...you think about how things w i l l turn out and you don't know. They say they w i l l send you a l e t t e r t e l l i n g you when your appointment i s but they don't say when. (IV-8) Under the new refugee determination l e g i s l a t i o n which came into effect January 1st, 1989, the status of such individuals i s to be determined within two months of their a p p l i c a t i o n . However there is presently a backlog of 80,000 refugee claimants waiting to be processed by Ottawa. It could take up to two or three years for those applicants to fin d out whether they can stay or w i l l have to go. Their s i t u a t i o n i s very uncertain and s t r e s s f u l . The stress can result in negative coping methods l i k e f i g h t i n g or drug and alcohol abuse. 41 Well you know sometimes i t isn't that we l i k e to f i g h t , but because of the problems you have on your mind. You are hanging on a thread, you fe e l very vulnerable to forces that are c o n t r o l l i n g your l i f e , you are easily excitable. And in those circumstances you get into more f i g h t s . . . I t ' s not that we're bad, i t ' s because of the tension. ( 1 - 2 ) The refugee claimants feel that they are on hold, "wasting time", "just surviving". They f e e l powerless and insecure. Many have experienced traumatic and d i f f i c u l t journeys to reach safety in Canada. They are alone and often isolated. They might spend a l l day alone in their rooms or going for long walks. They feel they have too much time to think. They meet mostly other Latinos who are in the same si t u a t i o n . If they are accepted as refugees and allowed to stay in Canada they w i l l not receive the f i n a n c i a l assistance and language training that government sponsored refugees receive. They did not have the "courtesy" to apply from abroad so once they are here they are treated o f f i c i a l l y as "regular Canadians". The message that they get i s that they are not wanted. Here you fe e l as i f you were a piece of garbage, just because you are here. Sometimes I feel as i f the only thing that Immigration wants i s for me to go... I know some people, families, they have gone to Immigration and been given papers to study English just over here at King Edward. On the other hand, I go and they don't give me a thing. I can only observe, and that i s only because I came through the border. If I don't l i k e i t the only thing I can do i s leave. (II1-1) This high r i s k group has the least services. They do have hope however. They hope that they w i l l be granted immigrant 42 status and be able to build a new l i f e here so they can l a t e r bring some of their family members. Some lose hope. I've talked to friends and they have t o l d me, "look, I'm going to stand i t for as long as I can". "And what are you going to do afterwards," I ask. "Afterwards I w i l l have to s e l l drugs. Some Canadians t e l l me to s e l l drugs to make money." If the alternative i s to s t e a l , they put you in j a i l anyway. And sometimes s e l l i n g drugs i s a form of entertainment. You're on the street. You're earning money. (111-10) If they f e e l blocked and are unable to gain access to the goods and services in our society, crime may be seen as an al t e r n a t i v e . Ignoring the needs of these young men could have serious consequences for their mental health as well as for our soc ie t y . Discussion of War and Trauma People who have experienced catastrophic stress, whether natural disasters l i k e earthquakes or floods or man-made disasters such as harassment, threats, warfare, rape or torture - bear wounds which require special compassion and understanding (Canadian Task Force on Mental Health Issues a f f e c t i n g Immigrants and Refugees, 1988, p.85). E l Salvador and Guatemala are both war torn countries where a large portion of the population l i v e s under threat and fear. The youth who participated in t h i s study are a l l victims of the violence there. The findings show that they do bear wounds. Some of them are suffering greatly. The e f f e c t s of the trauma range from being distracted in th e i r studies, to depression and 43 to a n t i - s o c i a l behaviour l i k e f i g h t i n g and drug abuse. Adapting to l i f e here in Canada i s complicated by these unhealed wounds. The violence has not ended, loved ones are s t i l l l i v i n g in danger in Central America. Nightmares are often about some tragedy b e f a l l i n g a mother or other family members. Thinking about those l e f t behind makes i t almost impossible to l i v e "a normal l i f e " . Many are caught in the dilemma of wanting to go back and wanting to stay here. Naturally enough, many reported that talking with Latino friends helped to ease some of the pain. Friends who speak the same language and have shared the same experiences provide understanding and support. Young women, espec i a l l y , reported that talking with friends helped them and they were more l i k e l y to help others. The young men reported that sometimes other Latino friends would make fun of them when they t o l d of their nightmares or problems. This could be due to the macho value of not showing pain or weakness. One young man said, "If I get talk i n g to people who have the same problems as me and they t e l l me about worse problems, I might just feel worse". Repressing or hiding symptoms could then re s u l t , making treatment more d i f f i c u l t . Some of the young women received support from counsellors and teachers at school. One young woman received medication to help her sleep. None of' the young men reported getting any help 44 except for one who asked evangelists to pray for him. Supportive counselling, prayer and the encouragement to "hang in there, everything w i l l be a l r i g h t " i s important but i n s u f f i c i e n t in many cases. Symptoms of the P.T.S.D. are often reduced by r e l i v i n g the trauma, understanding i t in a p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l context, and integrating i t into one's personal history. This requires a safe therapeutic environment (Somnier and Genefke, 1986). No one reported getting that kind of help. The refugee claimants who are here alone without the supportive network of family and friends are the "highest r i s k " group. Their uncertain status and the lack of services make i t very d i f f i c u l t for them. Immigration policy treats these people as "gate crashers" and gives them a double message - "you can come in but you are not welcome". If they are f i n a l l y accepted as immigrants they do not even get the same material support and language t r a i n i n g that government chosen refugees receive. They are treated as "regular" Canadians and b a s i c a l l y l e f t to fend for themselves. They usually have l i t t l e or no English, are unemployed, and have had traumatic pre-migration experiences. This sub-population seems to be the most "at r i s k " and has the fewest resources and services available to them. 45 Adaptation The youth from Latin America have to try to f i t into a new environment here. Not only do they have to learn a new language, which is d i f f i c u l t enough, they have to try to understand a new culture. How w i l l the new and the old f i t together? How w i l l they resolve the c o n f l i c t s ? I have been here almost three years. It i s d i f f e r e n t . And I s t i l l have not gotten accustomed. Every day I discover differences and I ask "why", "what's t h i s " , "why do they do that" and I don't understand. I think that my parents w i l l explain i t to me but they can't. It's the same for them. They only say "Well my c h i l d , that's the way i t i s here, the only thing you can do i s choose between what i s good and what i s bad". (VIII -4 ) Cultural Differences Latinos are generally expressive and warm. Canadian society seems cold and private to them. They fe e l l i k e outsiders. Here people are more private you could say. L i f e is l i v e d more p r i v a t e l y . Happiness i s not passed from one to another l i k e i t i s t h e r e . . . i f you go to E l Salvador, how should I say i t , anyone would give you love and friendship, they are warm. Here that also exists but not as much. You also see a l i t t l e racism on the part of Canadians, some of them. There are always exceptions. (II - 7 ) Neighbourhoods or barrios in E l Salvador and Guatemala are strong support networks where everyone knows everyone else and people help one another. Our people are sweet, they give, they are affectionate and f r i e n d l y . They w i l l give you their own food. If they have a l i t t l e piece of meat for the whole family, t h e y ' l l give you a piece too...Canadians are strange t h i s way. 46 They'll arrive and knock at the door. Neighbours don't interact much or i n v i t e each other i n . At night in E l Salvador people would s i t outside and v i s i t , have coffee. It's a beautiful community. But here, in the building where I l i v e , a l l the doors are closed. A l l the Canadians are closed. They don't even know each other...That's a big change here. The whole neighbourhood there knows everyone else, i t ' s l i k e a big family. (VIII-19) Although Canadian society seems closed, at the same time they see i t as being very l i b e r a l , even l i b e r t i n e . Canadian youth are seen to be more free and undisciplined. Many of those interviewed expressed both appreciation for the increased freedom as well as concern about the negative influences of the more l i b e r a l morality here. Here there i s more freedom for young people. There your parents have you subjected to very s t r i c t rules, whereas here the young person has more freedom. Maybe for thi s reason (Latino) youth here stray from the right path, because they see so much freedom. (IV-4) Personal respect and dignity are strong c u l t u r a l values for Latinos (Maduro, 1983 and Horowitz, 1983). Canadian youth seem very d i s r e s p e c t f u l to them. Here I am amazed at the way the students talk back to the teachers. Even in regular classes the teacher asks the student to work and they i n s u l t the teacher and say bad words. I just s i t there with my mouth open! We were taught to respect the adults and our teachers, so I f e e l shocked...We were taught to respect i f we wanted to be respected. We wouldn't even dream of answering l i k e that to a teacher! Sometimes I talk back to my parents but not the way they talk back to the teachers here (V-5). Drugs are perceived to be part of the Canadian youth culture. 47 That i s one thing that surprised me here. I had never heard of marijuana or so many drugs. And here I just arrived at school and i t i s a l l around....It seems l i k e everybody i s taking drugs here. It's o.k. for Canadians, i t ' s t h e i r culture, but not for us. In E l Salvador y o u ' l l never see a gang, maybe groups of kids t a l k i n g , nobody would be smoking. They are not accustomed to that. But here they come and get influenced by Canadians. It's o.k., i t ' s their country, but not for us. (VIII -22 ) Discrimination Discrimination was another thing that the youth had to adapt to. Some reported more discrimination from other Latino youth than from Canadians. This was a surprise for them because they expected that the Latinos would be understanding and supportive, having had the same experiences. We moved to Sixth Avenue and that was d i f f i c u l t because most of the people were from Latin America and they made us sad. That was the hardest thing...when you don't know the language everybody thinks that you are i n f e r i o r even i f they had the same problems when they came. I didn't understand why, i f they had the same problems, they had to treat everybody else l i k e that...they just try to make you f e e l i n f e r i o r . (V-2) There are some who don't want to associate with us. And why? They are Latinos, we are a l l the same. I don't know why they look down on us. They c r i t i c i z e . (11-11) They wished there was more unity among Latinos and suggested that groups be organized to help orient newcomers. Many t r i e d to help newcomers on their own. Experiences of discrimination from Canadians were also common. They were getting i t from a l l sides. They don't know how much i t hurts when they look down on you. They don't know how you have come here, how you have struggled to get here, only so that they can discriminate against you. (III - 8 ) 48 School seemed to be a place where there was a l o t of tension. In school many students look down on you. You are in E.S.L. classes and come from another country so they look down on you. That i s what bothers me the most. I am also having problems with two teachers. I think they don't l i k e me because I am Latino. I ask for help and they ignore me...It i s not a l l the Canadians, but a l o t of them discriminate against me. I fee l bad, in our country i t ' s not l i k e that. (X - 6 ) On the positive side many expressed gratitude for the help and support they did receive, both from other Latinos and Canadians. I have some Canadian friends and they helped me a l o t . They did a l o t for us. (V-3) English as a Second Language Learning English was a big b a r r i e r . It i s very s t r e s s f u l not being able to understand or be understood. You fe e l stupid. You think you w i l l never learn i t . In Spanish I can explain a l o t of things but when I try to do i t in English I fe e l stupid...(X - 6 ) When you can't speak English you think y o u ' l l never learn. That's when you want to leave and go back with people who can speak your language, where you can work. (IX-5) Many reported that the f i r s t year i s the most d i f f i c u l t time. Home sickness, loneliness and depression are common. Many 49 f e e l powerless and trapped. They want to go home and they can not. Some did not want to come in the f i r s t place. My mother told me, "If after three months you don't l i k e i t , you can return." But even though I didn't l i k e i t , I couldn't go back...she tr i c k e d me. (VI-14) After they start to learn English and see the opportunities they have to study and build a future they start to fe e l better. The f i r s t months, the f i r s t two years, you f e e l kind of trapped, sometimes people don't understand you, so you ask yourself what you are doing here. You want to go back but you can't. So thi s helps you to reason: "If I go back I might lose and here I can gain other things, l i v e better, I don't have to worry that i f I go out something might happen to me," things l i k e that. (V-13) Many of them are experiencing the dilemma of wanting to go back and wanting to stay. Some of them have resolved t h i s by planning to work hard to get an education or some tra i n i n g to be able to help their country develop in the future. Others wanted to send money home or sponsor r e l a t i v e s to come to Canada. The f i r s t year, my mind was set, I wanted to go back to Guatemala and stay there, because of my r e l a t i v e s mainly. But just in December I went back and I was r e a l l y happy seeing everybody but, seeing the way the country was, I don't want to l i v e there. I guess I needed to go back to see i f I was going to find happiness here or down there. I want to go to v i s i t , for a month or so, but not to l i v e . (V-10) One young woman who i s doing well in school and plans to go on to university expressed her dilemma. 50 Maybe I ' l l stay here forever but I ' l l never forget, neither the people I l e f t behind, nor my culture, nor my language. I consider myself a Latino l i v i n g in Canada, because the truth i s , I wasn't so small when I came. I was f i f t e e n . I brought the culture that I had l i v e d with for f i f t e e n years and a l l the things that I had become used to for f i f t e e n years. You can never forget t h i s because i t ' s already inside you. (VI-16) Adapting to l i f e here i s a complex process and i t takes longer for some than for others. When you see the differences here and you don't l i k e them, you want to go back. If you l i k e i t more here, you want to forget about how things were there and just l i v e here. It's something which you have to decide and which you might not know u n t i l you have more experience and have l i v e d through more things. (V-13) Those who become involved in the i r community and keep themselves busy seem to have an easier time. This young man has been here three years. I have a friend...He has a bicycle that he goes to school on. "Let's go together". Great! We have a nice time. On Saturday I go to a youth group at church. I have a pretty nice time there. I delive r newspapers. I have a lo t of things to do to keep me from getting sad. I have to study quite a l o t too. It makes me fee l better to write to my friends. I fe e l more or less okay...In other words, I am adapting. (II-7) Gender Roles Another major c u l t u r a l difference that both young women and men had to adapt to was the changing gender roles. Latin American culture i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y p a t r i a r c h a l . The women here have discovered they have more freedom. It's much better here. I have adult friends who are married and the husband does the shopping or takes care of 51 the kids while the wife works or something, whereas down there the man thinks the wife i s for the house and the man is for work...They think they are r e a l l y superior...They can be with another g i r l i f they want. They can drink and smoke but i f they see their wives doing that they raise h e l l , right! (V-7) Male participants saw the changes in the women as being negative. Both the young g i r l s and the older women change a l o t when they come here. In Latin America they are more reserved, here they become more free, extremely so. Not so good r e a l l y . They take a look at how things are here and they f l y away. If they didn't change their way of thinking when they arrive here maybe they wouldn't have a problem, but that i s not the case; here they go a l i t t l e crazy (1-7) The males lose some of their p r i v i l e g e s . Sometimes I have problems with my brothers. As males they think that because you are a woman you have to do more things in the home. This i s one of the big c u l t u r a l differences because here the women are equal to the men and the work i s divided up 50/50. (VI-7) If you get married here you t e l l your man, "No, you have to help me, I'm not going to do everything for you." Sometimes i t ' s d i f f i c u l t for the woman but she has to do i t . She sees the example of the Canadian woman who i s not going to be anybody's servant. (IX-10) A 21 year old woman recently married t o l d me of some problems she was having with her husband. He wanted someone to say he was right, that i f he wanted the food on the table, I had to put i t there. That's what his friends t o l d him. They had recently come from E l Salvador and didn't know what the situation was here. Maybe they came with their wives who had become accustomed to how they did i t there and they kept on with the same routine. And when they talked about me they said, "No, i t ' s because the women here are too l i b e r a l and they want to order the man around, they want to dominate the man, they think they 52 are stronger than men." We went to see a counsellor together but the second time he didn't want to go because he thought the counsellor was on my side. (IX-14) Gangs Belonging to a street gang i s also a way of adapting to the new environment. If youth f e e l alienated and discriminated against in the schools and in society they can f i n d status and peer support in a gang. Being a gang member serves to protect one's honour and dignity. In the macho code of honour, fi g h t i n g i s necessary to respond to perceived in s u l t s or lack of deserved respect (Horowitz, 1983). It's only l o g i c a l , i f you f e e l sad and deserted you seek support in your own community. If you don't have work to go to or something to study, these gangs are your family...when they see racism i s not uncommon among the youth here, they form groups and then say "No! We don't have to put up with t h i s . Why should we?" So the arguments s t a r t . They get car r i e d away a l o t of times. (III-8) The existence of the gangs was a concern for a l l those interviewed. Youth gangs are unknown in Latin America but they are quite common in most major North American c i t i e s . They seem to be a response to the s o c i a l conditions here. Many youths experienced being insulted and hassled before becoming members of gangs. Maybe a young guy doesn't have any friends and i s frustrated by how people treat him and he feels everyone i s l i k e that. Instead of getting to know people who can help him, he gets involved with people he thinks can understand him. But they are the ones in the gangs. If there were programs or counsellors to help him get together with other youth to do other things, that could help him I have a friend in Los Diablos. He came alone. He was l i v i n g with roommates but they didn't get along. So he went 53 to l i v e with an Evangelical family. He did well there but they wanted to convert him. They t o l d him i f he didn't convert he couldn't stay. They pressured him. So he l e f t and now he hangs out with people he thinks understand him, the gang. (IX-18) The street gangs have received much media attention l a t e l y and the participants expressed concern about negative stereotyping. And now i t ' s a problem, no? People get assaulted on the corner by a group that speaks Spanish, and they hear about t h i s group Los Diablos, so they think everyone who speaks Spanish i s mixed up in that gang...A lady said to me, "you should go back to your country because you have only come here to organize gangs." I said " T e l l i t to the ones who are hanging around on the streets, but not to me. Why me?". (II-8) Whenever there i s news about the gangs we have more trouble in the schools. In some schools we are under surveillance. They think we are involved in something. We are not a l l l i k e that...The gangs do something wrong and i t puts our whole culture down. (X-16) Discussion of Adaptation Latino culture i s very d i f f e r e n t from the one found here in Canada. The youth often find i t hard to understand. On the one hand i t seems closed and cold while on the other hand i t seems very open and l i b e r a l with many opportunities to do both good and bad. They seem to see Canadian youth culture as being l i b e r a l and undisciplined. Drug and alcohol abuse i s seen to be almost normal behaviour for Canadian youth. Many expressed concerns about friends being led astray, influenced by loose Canadian morals. It seems that the f i r s t impression many Latino youth get of Canadian society i s somewhat negative. This could be due to 5 4 the fact that, upon a r r i v a l , they are usually housed in poor inner c i t y neighbourhoods where they are exposed to the street l i f e here. Not only i s the culture new, but the youth often feel they are being discriminated against. They feel Canadians look down on them because they are from another country and cannot speak English very well. Experiences of discrimination were reported in the schools from both students and teachers. Some suggested that programmes be developed to help students understand people from diverse cultures and the circumstances of the i r migration. They f e l t that they needed more opportunity to interact with students from the mainstream culture. The youth were also surprised by discrimination from other Latinos. Instead of helping or providing support, Latino youth who have been here longer often look down on newcomers and make fun of them. Some denied speaking Spanish even though their accent and imperfect English belied them. The discrimination that they experienced on a r r i v a l may have had the effect of making them ashamed of being Latino. Adolescence i s a time of identity formation and the experience of being discriminated against and put down at thi s time could cause a rejection of the previous c u l t u r a l identity with the hope that they w i l l then be accepted by the larger society. It may be that the newcomers remind those that came before of the pain and embarrassment they experienced at f i r s t so they do not want to associate with them. Powerless people often do not want to ide n t i f y with those who are less powerful. 55 The discrimination could also result in a defiant attitude towards society as manifested by the gang members who join together to reinforce their identity and support one another in what they perceive as a h o s t i l e , closed society. Access to power, status, and money are gained through gang membership and a c t i v i t y . The gang also protects the honour of i t s members. For some i t is an alternative to being on welfare. The gangs' a c t i v i t i e s affect the whole community because of the media attention they receive. There i s a great deal concern about negative stereotyping and further discrimination because of the a c t i v i t i e s of a small group. The f i r s t months to the f i r s t year seemed to be the most d i f f i c u l t time. Some reported a short-term f e e l i n g of being on vacation but i t soon ended. Not speaking English i s very f r u s t r a t i n g , making even the simplest tasks seem almost impossible. Many reported being depressed, homesick and unable to concentrate or study. Once the youth started to f e e l more comfortable with English and began to appreciate their opportunities for study and career, they began to f e e l better. The parents, on the other hand, while optimistic at f i r s t , are often frustrated later by underemployment and loss of status. When the parents are up, the youth are down. Then, when the parents are down, the youth are becoming more opt i m i s t i c . This dynamic could have important implications for counselling. 56 The youth often did not choose to come and in some cases were not even consulted about the decision to migrate. Parents, more aware of and affected by the violence in their countries, often made the tr a v e l plans themselves and brought the youth along. This made their feelings of loss even greater. C o n f l i c t s with parents often resulted. Changing gender roles here in Canada also required some adaptation. The young women discovered they had more economic and personal freedom here. The young men seemed to think that the women changed too much. The women have more to gain and the men perceived that to be a loss for them. These changes often caused misunderstandings and stress in relationships. Family Dynamics Separation It has been said that there are no intact refugee families. Forced migration always separates families. This i s especially true considering that the Latino concept of family i s that of the extended family (Canino and Canino, 1980). Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are considered to be family and often l i v e very close to each other in Central America. If people are fortunate enough to come with the nuclear family, parents and children, they often s t i l l f e e l isolated, cut off from an important source of emotional and material support. 57 When you have children back there, your mother, nephew, aunt, the whole family takes care of them. But here everything i s more in d i v i d u a l . If I have an appointment I have to pay someone to look after them. People from here don't have their families close by...There we always l i v e surrounded by family. ( I X - 1 0 ) In many cases the war forces a man to flee alone, hoping to later reunite with his family. My father was in the army and when he died my mother told me i t would be best for me to leave. ( I I I - 6 ) My family t o l d me that they preferred to see me far away and not there. I would rather be there. And I know my family would rather have me there too, but with what i s happening there, what can you do? I have to stay here. Although I don't l i k e t h i s country, I have to stay. (III - 7 ) The youth are often sent to l i v e with r e l a t i v e s here because they are at an age when they are in danger of being victims of the c o n f l i c t there. My father was here. I was l i v i n g with my mother there and he asked me i f I wanted to come. They separated a long time ago. I wanted to stay with my mother, but she saw what the s i t u a t i o n was there and rea l i z e d i t was dangerous. "Something can happen to you," she said. They can k i l l you, they can confuse you with someone else and you'd never know what happened. You can't safely walk down the streets. You can be kidnapped into the army...There are no human rights for people there. So many problems. So I c a l l e d my dad and he asked i f I wanted to come and I said yes. It hurt me to have .to leave my mother because I always l i v e d with her...to be so far away from her. ( I I I - 6 ) When family members are f i n a l l y reunited after long separations i t i s not always easy to l i v e together. They often f e e l l i k e strangers to each other. The young woman quoted below 58 resented being sent to Canada and had serious problems r e l a t i n g to her mother. She f i n a l l y moved out to l i v e with an aunt. I hadn't seen my mother for eleven years. She l e f t E l Salvador when I was f i v e . . . I l i v e d with my grandmother... I didn't even think of my mother. I didn't f e e l anything for her. My love was for my grandmother and my aunt...I didn't want to come here. They only t o l d me i t was time to be with my mother...I f e l t l i k e I was torn away from that home to come here to be with someone I didn't know. ( V I I I - 1 4 ) So for some of these youth, adapting to a new culture i s complicated by having to adapt to a new family as well. (My grandmother) and I l i v e d together for f i f t e e n years and we only separated when I came here. So t h i s was one of the greatest c o n f l i c t s that I had. Because I wasn't used to l i v i n g with my mother or my brothers... In the beginning my mother and I had a l o t of f i g h t s . I wanted to go back, I didn't want to stay here. My mother wanted me to stay here because I was the only g i r l that she had. I got used to being with her and now we are more united. (VI-14) The grandmother emerged as a common theme in a l l the interviews. She seemed to be a symbol of a l l the family and everything that had been l e f t behind. They talk of going back to E l Salvador or Guatemala to see the i r grandmother. I love my grandmother l i k e my mother. I always v i s i t e d her and she always advised me and gave me love. Here i t i s d i f f e r e n t . I have never heard any Canadian friend talking about their grandmother l i k e that. (VIII-1) Interqenerational C o n f l i c t Intergenerational c o n f l i c t i s a major factor a f f e c t i n g family dynamics. Adolescence i s a stage of identity formation when youth are examining and challenging the values and 59 assumptions they have been brought up with (Erikson, 1968). Coming to Canada they are exposed to the example of youth here. The more l i b e r a l values of Canadian society are often in c o n f l i c t with the t r a d i t i o n a l values of the Latino culture. This often creates c o n f l i c t between parents and youth. Here, sometimes when some of us want to adopt the customs from here - the customs of our country are so d i f f e r e n t . So some kids stand up to their parents saying "No! I am r i g h t . " They want to go down their own road only because they are in t h i s country. There i t isn't l i k e that. The parents see that there i s more l i b e r a t i o n here, a more l i b e r a l country. So they react by being more s t r i c t with their children. But they shouldn't be so s t r i c t because when you are too s t r i c t with someone, sometimes i t has the opposite e f f e c t . (II-9) The parenting style i s more democratic here. Both the youth and their parents are not quite sure how to respond. The youth l i v e in two worlds and cultures, that of their parents and that of their peers. The parents are used to having their children a certain way; what they say i s law. There in E l Salvador they are e n t i t l e d to punish their children, whenever, however and however many times they want to and nobody would t e l l them, "Don't h i t him l i k e that"...Whereas the way I see things here i s that the son and the father are not the father and son but rather are two men talking and coming to an agreement between them...So you encounter a sudden change when you come here because there you are under the pressure from your parents and then you f i n d yourself here with younger people who are freer and can go out at any time they l i k e and make their own decisions.(IV-11) Sometimes the parents react by becoming more s t r i c t and not allowing their children to do things that they would have been able to do back in E l Salvador or Guatemala. 60 They aren't too sure of the situation here yet and they are a f r a i d of too much l i b e r t y . So they don't give their children the freedom, and then the kids become, not rebel l i o u s , but i f they s t r i c t l y follow the rules of the parents they become bored and then the problems s t a r t . Many times they w i l l leave home. (IV-12) The young women experienced parental r e s t r i c t i o n s more than the males. Their parents are overprotective I guess...I have a friend who i s 15 or so and her dad says, "No, you can't go out with a guy u n t i l you are 18," which i s so old-fashioned. . .There are some parents who h i t their daughters, they want to protect them and everything. My dad used to say that, i f I wanted to go out with a guy, my brother would have to go out with me, supposedly to take care of me. But my brother was younger than me so I would have to take care of him! But when he came here he changed his mind about i t . At least now I can go out without my brother! But so many g i r l s say that their parents are overprotective and they treat them l i k e babies, even when they are 18 or 19...I guess that's why they ran away. They h i t them, they always want to have them in the home. (V-8) Some rebel against the r e s t r i c t i o n s . Some g i r l s from Central America don't care what time they get home, don't phone their parents, and the parents r e a l l y worry. Sometimes parents even c a l l my mom to ask i f she knows where their daughter i s . (V-8) Many g i r l s lead a double l i f e . They are one kind of person at home and another at school. They often learn to l i e to keep the peace at home. I know some g i r l s who are with gangs or smoking marijuana or taking cocaine and at home they're l i k e l i t t l e g i r l s , i t ' s l i k e they are hypocrites. (V-8) 61 The parents are concerned about the drugs and the gangs. They are a f r a i d that they w i l l lose their children. The Latino family seems threatened by Canadian society. Parental authority i s seen to be undermined by our c h i l d protection laws. Our parents here feel r e s t r i c t e d because they cannot abuse their authority in Canada. They can no longer punish you because there are laws protecting minors. So t h i s i s how parents find themselves up against a wall, because they feel powerless to do anything and that's when they get very depressed. (IV-12) The youth f e e l that they have more freedom and power here. The state backs them up with their decisions. In the following case a young woman, known to hang out with a street gang, t o l d me she could get income assistance to l i v e by he r s e l f . I started to go out when I was 17. She (my mother) didn't l i k e i t , and she started to fight with me. I t o l d her i f she would go on l i k e that I was going to l i v e by myself. Now I don't l i v e with my mom...They are going to pay me for my rent. My s o c i a l worker agrees with me that I am going to l i v e by myself. (VII-4) Forced migration, trauma, loss, separation and c u l t u r a l c o n f l i c t a l l put a great deal of stress and s t r a i n on family re l a t i o n s . For some i t unites them. Here in Canada there are only four of us, my brothers, my mom and myself. So we have to be more united and support each other when one of us i s try i n g to do something worthwhile. (VI-7) Discussion of Family Dynamics 62 Loss was a common theme with a l l the part i c i p a n t s . Forced migration disrupts families. Youth often were sent here to l i v e with aunts and uncles or parents they had not seen for years. The stress of having to adapt to a new family while having to adapt to an e n t i r e l y new culture and environment often caused serious c o n f l i c t . Nuclear families migrating to Canada lost the support of the i r extended families and friends. The grandmother seemed to represent a l l that was lost and l e f t behind. She was mentioned again and again in the interviews. The differences between Latino and Canadian culture often cause c o n f l i c t s in the families. Unmarried children, especially women, tend to l i v e with their families in E l Salvador and Guatemala. Here youth tend to move out at a younger age and the parents see that as a threat to their family. Parents tend to hold onto the values of their own culture and try to protect their children from what they perceive to be the dangers of the looser morality here. They may tend to be over-protective and r e s t r i c t i v e . The youth see that their Canadian peers enjoy more l i b e r t i e s and may challenge their parents, considering them to be old-fashioned. Canadian c h i l d protection laws also seem to undermine the parents' t r a d i t i o n a l autocratic authority. In E l Salvador and Guatemala parents are allowed to d i s c i p l i n e their children as they see f i t , without any interference from the state. The youth seem to appreciate the more democratic style of parenting practiced here and would l i k e to see their parents give them more freedom and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . The re s t r i c t i v e n e s s often 63 caused rebelliousness and, sometimes, family break up. There was also some confusion about what i s normal for Canadian youth. Some saw "doing whatever you want", including drug and alcohol abuse, as a normal part of Canadian youth culture. Prospects In spite of a l l the d i f f i c u l t i e s adapting to the new culture the young people interviewed f e l t grateful for the security and opportunities Canada o f f e r s . Well, I think sincerely that this country i s great. I'm going to take advantage of i t because, as he said before, i t i s a b i t d i f f i c u l t sometimes. It's not a l l easy but, i f one works and waits, things w i l l work out. (11 — 1) Here you f e e l safer, away from the problems of war. You don't find a dead body on your doorstep. That doesn't happen here. Here everything i s quieter. (11-10) The standard of l i v i n g of course i s higher. I l i k e the fact that you are never in need here, in comparison to there. The poor man here i s a r i c h man there. He who has the least here, would be considered to have everything there. Why i s that? No one w i l l die of hunger here. As far as t h i s i s concerned, i t ' s not a problem, but sometimes I'd s t i l l prefer to be there. (1-5) Education and Employment Education was a strong theme for a l l the p a r t i c i p a n t s , which is natural considering their ages. They f e l t they could have greater opportunity to study here. Those who were doing well in 64 school f e l t very optimistic and planned on going on to advanced studies. I took the five month E.S.L. course in King Edward and later you can apply for a grant and they keep helping you. I got my grade twelve that way and am now taking a course in pharmacy. It has been good but i t i s limited. Only certain people can take advantage; i f you do well in classes. But others can't make i t , they stay behind and aren't e l i g i b l e . (IX-3) But for those who are having d i f f i c u l t y in school the future does not seem so bright. Many of our youth, because of trouble adapting, lose their study habits and leave school, maybe get into gangs. They lose the opportunity they have to get ahead. (X-10) E.S.L. classes are f r u s t r a t i n g for most. Students have to study in E.S.L. classes before they can move into regular classes. If you are in E.S.L. you can't take any regular classes l i k e math. For math you don't need much English. They don't want to take students from E.S.L. even i f they are good students. I am learning math in E.S.L. classes that I already know. In E.S.L. they have everyone together. Some know more than others. So they teach the ones who don't know and the ones who know have to learn i t again. I t ' s a waste of time. (X-6) Youth who are over 18 when they ar r i v e w i l l have a very d i f f i c u l t time graduating from high school, thus l i m i t i n g their career opportunities. Teachers tend to keep you in E.S.L. for a long, long time and then you can't even graduate. Sometimes in E.S.L. my counsellor would say I was good enough to be in advanced 65 class but the E.S.L. teachers wouldn't transfer me. But when they received a l o t of Spanish and Chinese people that needed the space they just took everybody in E.S.L. out but they didn't know enough English to be in regular classes...I think that when you turn 19 you have to leave i f you are not in regular classes. There are kids who won't be able to graduate because of their age. They have a program to help you find jobs and everything but s t i l l , what can you do without a grade twelve diploma? (V-15) Those who are 19 when they a r r i v e are not allowed to attend high school. Many have had their education interrupted by the war and forced migration and have not been able to f i n i s h high school. For some i t was very f r u s t r a t i n g . Well my main plan in Guatemala was to go to university, and that i s what I would l i k e to do here. But I don't know i f I w i l l be able to. They don't even l e t me go to school to f i n i s h high school...It seems l i k e everyone else i s going to school, and me, I'm stuck in a room. And I want so much to go to school and I can't. Me, who always loved to go to school, now I can't. And I won't be able to. (1-4) Although many of the young people did not want to come to Canada in the f i r s t place, they have a visi o n of l i f e here, a dream to build a better future and to do something worthwhile. The opportunities. At least the opportunities to have a better future. Here you can study and go to di f f e r e n t i n s t i t u t i o n s and, i f you have the desire and the w i l l , you can get ahead...of course, in appreciation of those opportunities you have the obligation to try to be someone, to be useful. (IV-3) Those who can not study often have d i f f i c u l t y finding work as well. The "land of opportunity" becomes a fr u s t r a t i n g i l l u s i o n . 66 One of the factors that a f f e c t the young people i s that they want to work. They come to work and end up doing nothing, understand? This a f f e c t s a l l of their other a c t i v i t i e s . So there they are with the desire to work and they need permission, no? And then, no, you needed t h i s and this and that... People have problems finding work because they don't know the language...This af f e c t s you. They go on welfare, they don't do anything. They lose their v i s i o n , the focus they brought to do something. They lose themselves when they find themselves up against these obstacles. ( 1 1 - 1 ) Those who l e f t their home countries when they were quite young, say under ten years of age, usually i d e n t i f y more with Canada and want to stay here in the future. Those who came when they were older often face a big dilemma of whether they want to stay or go back. I want to study. I don't have plans about where I w i l l l i v e . I am here but I was born there and my whole family i s there. I am the only one here. I don't know where I w i l l be in the future, whether here or there. Right now I am learning here, I am studying. But I don't know. If my family was here I would make my plans for my future here. (IX-6) Some, of course, want to do both. If I got a university education and could help with the development of my country I would l i k e to do that. That doesn't mean that I am only going to take advantage of Canada. If I could contribute to Canada I would l i k e to do that too. I would l i k e to be a Canadian c i t i z e n and be responsible to Canada. Canada w i l l be a part of me and i t w i l l also need us. But I also have r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s to my country. My roots are there. (X- 1 1 ) Discussion of Prospects Canada has better opportunities for education and career development for youth than E l Salvador or Guatemala. Here they 67 are also safe from the clangers of war and repression. Many expressed gratitude for these things and are taking advantage of them. The good opportunities are only for those who do well however. The best students are encouraged to go on and are offered grants and loans. Those who are having d i f f i c u l t y with th e i r studies, perhaps due to the stress of adaptation or previous trauma, are often l e f t behind and drop out, destined for low paying jobs or unemployment. The standard of l i v i n g i s higher here, even for the unemployed. The state provides income assistance, health care, and other services unknown in their home countries. But work provides a sense of identi t y and s e l f worth. It's the f i r s t time I've l i v e d off something l i k e welfare and I can't stand i t . I want to work, but I don't have a work permit. U n t i l i t comes from Ottawa, and i t never comes... Instead of taking money from the taxpayers. What can the people of Canada think of this? This guy doesn't l i k e to work. (III-3) Prospects are not good for youth who are older than 19 when they a r r i v e . Many of them have had their education interrupted by war and forced migration. They come to Canada with the hope of being able to graduate from high school and continue on with th e i r education. But high schools here do not accept anyone over 18 years of age. These people are expected to go to Adult Education classes i f they want to f i n i s h high school. They have to pay for their own education, including E.S.L. They are caught in the dilemma of not being able to study English unless they get 6 8 a job and not being able to get a job because they can not speak English. Student loans are available but they are often not aware of them. Their dreams of a better future seem frustrated by the barriers they face. Our school system i s not responsive to their special circumstances and needs. Refugee claimants, once again, are the most disadvantaged. Even i f they are accepted as immigrants they w i l l not be e l i g i b l e for sponsored language t r a i n i n g . They too are expected to work and pay for t h e i r own English classes. Present p o l i c i e s seem to punish these victims of repression. They are o f f i c i a l l y e l i g i b l e for a l l the services and benefits due to any Canadian resident but t h i s ignores their special needs and the barriers that exist to t h e i r access to mainstream s o c i a l services. They often end up as menials and servants in our society, taking jobs that Canadians r e j e c t . Many also experience the dilemma of wanting to return to th e i r home country and wanting to stay in Canada. Naturally, the younger they were when they came, the more they i d e n t i f y with Canada as their home. For the older ones, waiting to go back may become an excuse for not applying themselves to their studies or opportunities here. Some have resolved their dilemma for the present by deciding to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities they have to be able to offer their knowledge and s k i l l s for the development of their home country in the future. 69 In summary these youth have to face many challenges in their adaptation to l i f e in Canada. These newcomers, which are a part of our m u l t i c u l t u r a l society and our future, need attention from our policy makers and service providers. Following are the conclusions of t h i s study and some implications for s o c i a l work. 70 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL WORK Before focusing on the situations of Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth in Canada I would l i k e to review some of the reasons for the violence and repression in their home countries. Ind u s t r i a l i z e d countries exploit the natural resources and cheap labour of the poor Third World countries, thus insuring their continuing underdevelopment. Central America i s an area of economic and technological dependency controlled by imperialist monopolies. Although i t i s a r i c h and f e r t i l e region, i t s a g r i c u l t u r a l production (mostly coffee and bananas) and i t s mineral resources are syphoned off by international corporations. The International Monetary Fund has "lent" large sums of money to underdeveloped countries to develop agriculture and resource extraction but the p r o f i t s and the products always leave the area. In r e a l i t y what has been happening i s that the multinational corporations have financed the development of t h e i r own operations and have gotten the poor countries to pay for i t . The only Central Americans that benefit from th i s kind of "development" are the p r i v i l e g e d class of large landowners and businessmen who act as the representatives and partners of the foreign i n t e r e s t s . Huge foreign debts are incurred in the name of the people but for the exploited class of peasants and workers there are no benefits or development, only deepening poverty and misery. 71 Latin America has been p i l l a g e d and exploited for the fi v e centuries since the European conquest; f i r s t by the Spanish, next by the English and now by multinational corporations controlled mainly by the United States (Galeano, 1973). The people have t r i e d many times to throw off the yoke of their oppression. In the f i r s t three decades of thi s century the United States sent troops to Central America and the Caribbean twenty-eight times to protect i t s economic interests (Golden and McConnell, 1986). General Smedley D. Butler spent thirty-three years in the Marine Corps: During that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short I was a racketeer for capitalism... Thus I helped make H a i t i and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank to c o l l e c t revenues... I helped pu r i f y Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1901-1902. I brought l i g h t to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras "r i g h t " for American f r u i t companies in 1903 (Pearce, 1981, p.20). The present day c o n f l i c t s in E l Salvador and Guatemala are a continuation of a history of repression and violence. The United States i s spending millions of d o l l a r s every year to maintain m i l i t a r y regimes in E l Salvador and Guatemala to protect American interests. Canada, less powerful than the United States and therefore less repressive, also has economic interests in the region. The Canadian government o f f i c i a l l y supports American foreign policy and recognizes, supports, and does business with the puppet governments dedicated to maintaining the status quo. Canadian businesses, especially banks, have considerable stakes in Latin America (Whitaker, 1987). 72 One of the contributions of Salvadorean and Guatemalan refugees has been to make Canadians more aware of the situation in their countries and in the rest of the Third World. The s o c i a l work Code of Ethics states that s o c i a l workers have a commitment to develop resources to meet i n d i v i d u a l , group, national and international needs and aspirations; and to work for the achievement of s o c i a l j u s t i c e for a l l ( B r i t i s h Columbia Association of Social Workers, 1988). The implication i s that s o c i a l workers have a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , not only to the refugees that make i t to Canada, but to a l l the oppressed people in Central America and the rest of the Third World. The same exploitative c a p i t a l i s t system that puts p r o f i t before the well-being of people and creates poverty here, also creates poor underdeveloped countries. Social workers have the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to work to change foreign and domestic p o l i c i e s that w i l l improve s o c i a l conditions and promote s o c i a l j u s t i c e both here and abroad. We can no longer l i v e in our own insulated and comfortable world while hungry and landless peasants break their backs to support our consumer l i f e s t y l e and put luxuries l i k e sugar and coffee on our tables. Social workers also have the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to respond to the needs of the immigrants and refugees who are here. Canadian society i s changing and dynamic. Forty-eight percent of Vancouver's students speak English as a second language (Cleanthro and Levens, 1989). Every new immigrant changes 73 Canadian society a l i t t l e more. The immigrant must adapt to a new l i f e in Canada and Canada must also adapt to i t s changing population. It must be a mutual process. Social workers, as advocates for the disadvantaged, must work to develop p o l i c i e s and programmes to provide equal access to services and resources for those blocked by language and c u l t u r a l barriers to f u l l p a r t i c i p a t i o n in our society. In order to provide e f f e c t i v e and relevant services, s o c i a l workers need to develop c r o s s - c u l t u r a l s e n s i t i v i t y and s k i l l s . Cross-cultural education should be an integral part of a s o c i a l worker's professional t r a i n i n g and development and as such should be included in the c u r r i c u l a of the Schools of Social Work. The next sections follow the same main headings as in the findings chapter. The conclusions and implications are discussed under the headings of trauma, adaptation, family dynamics and, prospects. Trauma Migration in i t s e l f e n t a i l s experiences of loss and g r i e f . The loss and gri e f experienced by the youth in t h i s study was amplified by the traumatic experiences of war and state terrorism. Witnessing violence was a common experience and many had friends and r e l a t i v e s kidnapped, tortured and\or k i l l e d . Psychological and emotional scars, in the form of symptoms such 74 as insomnia, depression, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, and i n a b i l i t y to concentrate, were reported. Other studies done with refugee populations have found similar experiences (Allodi,1980; Beiser,1988; Cohen,1980; Coleman,1987). The l i t e r a t u r e has i d e n t i f i e d these symptoms as those of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.). Symptoms of P.T.S.D. along with the loss of a person's support system due to forced migration may result in the E x i l e Syndrome, which l i s t s as one of i t s symptoms: the reluctance or resistance to incorporate in the new environment and the a b i l i t y to foresee a meaningful future outside of their own country (Perez,1984). The youth in t h i s study, perhaps due to their age, have dreams of a meaningful future. Perez's study was done with Chilean adults who had been p o l i t i c a l l y active before the Chilean m i l i t a r y and the C.I.A. overthrew the popularly elected Allende government in 1974. The defeat of democracy in Chile was a personal defeat for them. The Salvadorean and Guatemalan youth were not so involved in p o l i t i c s and did not seem to identi f y as much with either side in the war. Their dilemma of wanting to stay in Canada and wanting to go back had more to do with missing family and friends. Their symptoms of P.T.S.D. also made their adaptation here more d i f f i c u l t . Many were suffering greatly. The implications for s o c i a l work are that whenever working with refugee c l i e n t s s o c i a l workers must be sensitive to the fact that most of them have had very traumatic experiences. Symptoms l i k e depression and anxiety may be misdiagnosed as mental i l l n e s s when 75 in fact they are natural and normal psychological reactions to extreme trauma. While spontaneous recovery i s not l i k e l y , therapy has shown to be quite e f f e c t i v e in reducing symptoms (Allodi,1980; Somnier and Genefke, 1986). Social work needs to develop s k i l l s in the assessment and treatment of victims of repression and torture. Adaptation The Canadian Task Force on Mental Health Issues Affecting Immigrants and Refugees (1988) suggested that adolescent age i s a bad time to migrate. Both Mis r i (1986) and Perez (1984) wrote that major changes in a c u l t u r a l context during identity formation tend to have severe consequences for further development. This seems to be supported by the present study. Discrimination and ethnic in s u l t s experienced by youth, esp e c i a l l y in the schools, also seemed to aff e c t their identity formation. Some youth rejected the culture of their parents because they saw that i t was devalued by Canadian society. In an e f f o r t to be accepted they would even pretend that they did not speak Spanish and sometimes would r i d i c u l e and insult other Latino youth who had recently arrived in Canada and could not yet speak English. This was hard for the newcomers to understand because they thought the other Latinos would help them. Other youth reacted to the discrimination they experienced by joining gangs. "The gang provides a place where they belong and that i s exactly what we have not given them. The real issue i s racism and our a b i l i t y to aid in assimilation of immigrants" (Came, 76 1989, p. 37). The youth who had adapted most successfully were those who had the support of family and friends and could talk openly about their experiences and problems. A few reported getting help from counsellors at school. The refugee claimants, usually single young men here alone, reported having the most di f f i c u l t y . Orientation i s needed for the youth as soon as possible afte r they a r r i v e here. Social workers could help to organize and f a c i l i t a t e support groups for youth to discuss the c u l t u r a l differences, d i f f i c u l t i e s and methods of coping. The groups would provide a welcome and a sense of belonging. Leadership s k i l l s and awareness of their special g i f t s as b i c u l t u r a l , b i l i n g u a l people would help to empower them and build a stronger sense of pride and community. Family Dynamics The Canadian Task Force on Mental Health Issues Affecting Immigrants and Refugees (1988) i d e n t i f i e d separation from family as a contingency of migration that increases the risk of developing mental health problems. Separation and loss were common themes for a l l the pa r t i c i p a n t s . Reunification after extended periods of separation meant further loss for youth as they had to leave surrogate parents (usually grandparents or aunts and uncles) to join parents they had not seen for years. 77 The l i t e r a t u r e indicated that changing gender roles and intergenerational c o n f l i c t created major problems for many immigrant families (Misri, 1986; Sepulveda, 1984; Tesler, 1984; Burke, 1982; Maglione, 1983; Canino and Canino, 1980; and Berdichewski, 1987). I also found t h i s to be true. Serious c o n f l i c t s were reported with both the parents and the youth confused about what was expected of them. Family breakup sometimes resulted with the youth moving out of the family home. This i s a tragedy for the family because the family i s f i r s t in Latino culture. One father said that he had brought his family here to save them from danger in E l Salvador and then l o s t them in Canada. There i s a lack of services for Latino families. The immigrant settlement agencies do not have the mandate or the expertise to provide family therapy. Language and c u l t u r a l barriers block these families from using the mainstream agencies. Parenting groups are needed to help parents adjust to the dif f e r e n t parenting style found here. They are often confused about c h i l d protection laws and what they perceive as the loose moral value of Canadian society. Social work has the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to provide services for these families. Schools of Social Work need to rec r u i t more students from the ethnic communities to work with people of their own culture. Affirmative action programmes are needed in the u n i v e r s i t i e s to encourage these students to apply. Special supports and tutoring may also be necessary due to language and c u l t u r a l d i f f i c u l t i e s . 78 Social workers, once again, need to develop cros s - c u l t u r a l awareness and s k i l l s such as working through an interpreter. Social workers also need to advocate for p o l i c i e s and programmes in the mainstream agencies to respond to the needs of these families. Prospects These youth, l i k e a l l refugees, came to Canada to escape from war and violence with the hope of building a better future. The i n a b i l i t y to speak English i s their f i r s t barrier and has been i d e n t i f i e d as a contingency of migration that increases the risk of developing mental health problems. The studies of Fantino (1982) and Montero (1977) both describe the frustrations of not being able to communicate, making the simplest of tasks seem almost impossible and making one fe e l powerless and stupid. The youth in t h i s present study reported similar feelings. They also expressed f r u s t r a t i o n with the E.S.L. classes that try to teach Latinos, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Polish, and any other immigrant a l l in the same cl a s s . Many f e l t i t was a waste of time. Education was a concern for a l l and those that did well in school were optimistic about their opportunities and their future. However, the war and forced migration had disrupted the education of many and they were too old to enter the regular school system when they arrived here and so they were unable to 79 graduate. They were not excited about their prospects of un s k i l l e d labour or unemployment. Refugee claimants are especially disadvantaged. They are not allowed to study or to work while their claim for refugee status i s being processed. This could take four to six months during which time they receive hardship assistance, remain i d l e and are i n e l i g i b l e for any other s o c i a l services. If they are allowed to stay in Canada they do not receive any special assistance as refugees. This policy appears to be an attempt to discourage refugees from coming to our borders to seek asylum. The Department of Immigration wants to choose their refugees from the i r overseas o f f i c e s . This policy ignores the human needs of the refugee claimants once they are here. A more humanitarian response i s needed. Social workers are needed to advocate for the refugee claimants who have no power of their own. They are in double jeopardy; that i s , a high risk group whose chances for getting help are low. E.S.L. classes should be provided to a l l , regardless of their status. E.S.L. for Latinos should be taught by teachers who speak Spanish. Free adult education should be provided for those who had their education disrupted so they can graduate from high school i f they want to. Job t r a i n i n g i s needed to prepare the youth for the Canadian job market. Of course, jobs are also needed. 80 Youth has long been ignored as a target population (Shearer, 1987). A f u l l range of services, from l e i s u r e a c t i v i t i e s to street work, are needed. Youth gangs are a growing phenomenon and are getting a great deal of media attention. A recent Macleans magazine dedicated a cover story to "gang te r r o r " in Canadian c i t i e s (Came, 1989). While these gangs involve just a small percentage of youth, they are a v i s i b l e and disturbing symptom of a much larger problem that needs immediate attention. Following are some recommendations to help respond to the needs and concerns of immigrant youth. 81 RECOMMENDATIONS I have been impressed by the courage and energy of the young people I had the p r i v i l e g e of talking to. They are d e f i n i t e l y an asset for Canada. Many are adapting quite well despite their past tragedies and present d i f f i c u l t i e s . Whatever Canadian society can do to f a c i l i t a t e their process w i l l be to the c o l l e c t i v e benefit of us a l l . Our society and i t s i n s t i t u t i o n s also has the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of adapting to our newcomers. This study has revealed a gap in services to these refugee youth. Their own, often poetic, words have described the d i f f i c u l t i e s they experience adapting to l i f e here while dealing with the painful wounds of trauma and loss. The following recommendations are grouped under the headings of services, education, further research and, resources. They are: A. Services 1. That support groups for youth be f a c i l i t a t e d to give them the opportunity to talk about their experiences and problems. Many of the youth interviewed reported that talking with friends helped them cope with their problems and some expressed the desire to help other newcomers. Such groups could serve as orientation programmes and help with the i n i t i a l adjustment period as well as teach problem solving s k i l l s . Youth who have been in Canada for a longer period of time and have had similar 82 experiences could help f a c i l i t a t e the groups. These groups could be organized through community centres such as Britannia or by the m u l t i c u l t u r a l workers and E.S.L. teachers in the school system. Due to the s o c i a l organization of the Latino community, groups for young women would need to be developed with the consent and, hopefully, the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the parents, perhaps through church organizations. 2. That individual and group therapy for those having adaptation or psychological problems be provided in the E.S.L. context. E.S.L. teachers are often the f i r s t professionals who have contact with the newcomers. The teachers often recognize the needs of their students for psychological help but have no resources to refer them to. Counsellors in the school system need to receive c r o s s - c u l t u r a l t r a i n i n g with an emphasis on understanding the symptoms and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A l l refugees are "at r i s k " by d e f i n i t i o n . The schools are a natural environment to provide services because that i s where many of the youth spend most of their time. 3. That the mental health system place c r o s s - c u l t u r a l l y trained mental health workers in the immigrant settlement agenc ies . Settlement agencies such, as M.O.S.A.I.C. and Immigrant Services Society, are the services that most immigrant families are most familiar with. They do not presently have the mandate, 83 t r a i n i n g or resources to provide counselling to those suffering from mental health disorders or adaptation problems. The Greater Vancouver Mental Health Services could place workers in those settings to make them more accessible and less stigmatizing to immigrant c l i e n t s . 4. That parenting s k i l l s , along with other l i f e s k i l l s , be taught in the content of the E.S.L. classes. Parents often need orientation to the culture as well as help dealing with the intergenerational c o n f l i c t frequently experienced by immigrant families. They are often confused by our c h i l d protection laws and about what they perceive to be the "loose" moral values of Canadian society. Providing parenting s k i l l s t r a i n i n g in the content of E.S.L. classes helps to solve the problem of lack of time which i s a common complaint for immigrant fa m i l i e s . 5. That special programmes be developed for refugee claimants. Refugee claimants are a "high r i s k " population. They are often isolated, i d l e , and under high stress while waiting to find out i f they w i l l be deported or be allowed to stay in Canada. Such programmes should combine E.S.L. instruction with supportive group therapy to help end their i s o l a t i o n and loneliness. Settlement agencies and community centres would be good settings for such programmes. 84 6. That more recreational and job t r a i n i n g programmes be developed to give youth an opportunity to develop healthy relationships and interests as an alternative to street l i f e and gang membership. Youth need to f e e l that they belong. They need opportunities to develop their talents and s k i l l s . Programmes l i k e the Work Orientation Program (W.O.W.) which provides a summer of paid job t r a i n i n g and experience should be expanded to include more immigrant youth. Existing sports programmes also need to be expanded. B. Education 1. That c r o s s - c u l t u r a l t r a i n i n g be required for students of education, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, psychology and s o c i a l work. Mainstream agencies are often inaccessible and unresponsive to immigrant c l i e n t s due to language and c u l t u r a l b a r r i e r s . They w i l l continue to be so u n t i l the professionals are more cross-c u l t u r a l l y aware. Such education should be a required part of their t r a i n i n g at the university l e v e l . 2. That affirmative action programmes with bursaries and incentives be developed to encourage minority students to study in the helping professions. Relaxed academic admission requirements and tutoring may be necessary for students with English as a second language. Such students would have the benefit of being b i c u l t u r a l and b i l i n g u a l 85 and be better able to understand people of their own ethnic and c u l t u r a l backgrounds. 3. That cr o s s - c u l t u r a l education be included in the curriculum of our school system. Children growing up in a m u l t i c u l t u r a l society need understanding and s k i l l s to be able to communicate with and appreciate people of diverse c u l t u r a l backgrounds. Primary and secondary schools would be excellent places to combat discrimination and r a c i s t attitudes, teaching children to be proud of their ethnic and c u l t u r a l heritage. 4. That the educational system give special consideration to youth whose studies have been disrupted by forced migration. Those who are over 19 years of age are often not allowed to attend high school and f e e l blocked and frustrated. They should be given more time and help to graduate. An alt e r n a t i v e they have i s to get a student loan and try to graduate from Adult Education which means they would be graduating from grade twelve with the burden of a debt. C. Research 1. That further research be done to delineate the psychological consequences of torture and e x i l e and to develop e f f e c t i v e treatment m o l a l i t i e s for survivors of trauma. Refugees coming from war-torn countries are mostly l i k e l y to have experienced severe trauma yet our present mental health 86 system and immigrant adaptation services are not prepared to help these people heal from their wounds. More knowledge i s needed in th i s area. 2. That further research be done with immigrant youth and their families. This study has taken a preliminary look at a small population. A larger study could include interviews with parents, p o l i c e , teachers, s o c i a l workers, health professionals, mental health workers and, a l l others who are involved with immigrant youth. D. Resources 1 . That the Government of B r i t i s h Columbia accept greater r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the well-being of i t s new residents. A l l of the above recommendations require money and resources. Employment tr a i n i n g , f o r example, i s useless i f there are no jobs. B r i t i s h Columbia i s one of the most mu l t i c u l t u r a l provinces; forty-eight percent of Vancouver's school children have English as a second language (Cleanthro and Levens, 1989). Yet the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia spends the least of a l l the provinces on immigrant services (Shearer, 1987). Spending money to help newcomers adapt and integrate into our society i s an investment and a preventative measure to avoid costly s o c i a l problems in the future. Immigrant youth are a big part of Canada's future. Considering the d i f f i c u l t i e s of their past and present situations 87 they cannot be expected to adapt smoothly to l i f e here in Canada without some assistance. If we neglect their development today our society w i l l pay the price tomorrow. 88 BIBLIOGRAPHY Adler, Michal. (1988). 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Qualitative analysis for s o c i a l  s c i e n t i s t s . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thygesen, Paul. (1980) . The concentration camp syndrome. Danish  Medical B u l l e t i n . 2 7 J 5 ) , 224-228. Tyhurst, L. (1982) . Coping with refugees; a Canadian experience: 1948-1981. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 2_8_( 2 ) , 105-109. Waxier-Morrison, N., Anderson. J . , & Richardson, E. (Eds.). (In press). Cross-cultural caring: A handbook for health professionals in Western Canada. Vancouver: University of B r i t i s h Columbia Press. Whitaker, R. (1987) . Double standard: The secret history of  Canadian immigration. Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys. Young, M. (1987) . The convention refugee determination process in  Canada. Ottawa: Library of Parliament. 94 APPENDIX "A" Interview Guide Perceptions and experiences of Canada Encourage youth to talk about their experiences in Canada. Probe f o r : -their perceptions of the c u l t u r a l differences -differences between them and other youth -experiences of discrimination and racism - l i k e s and d i s l i k e s -aspirations and expectations -barriers and frustrations -future plans, whether to go back or stay -networks -differences for young men and women Family Relationships Get their perspectives on what i s going on in the family. Probe f o r : -how migration has affected family relationships - t y p i c a l parent/youth relationship in home land -intergenerational/cultural c o n f l i c t s -differences for young men and women Effe c t s of Violence and Repression Many people who have had traumatic experiences often have nightmares and other problems. Others do not have such experiences. Probe f o r : -symptoms of P.T.S.D. -coping methods -suggestions for help -attitudes toward violence -attitudes toward authority Suggestions Explore what the youth think about services and resources available to them now and what they would l i k e to see be made available or developed. Probe for: -School and E.S.L. -Immigrant services -Recreation and s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s -Police -Social workers 95 APPENDIX "B" C o d i n g S c h e d u l e I n i t i a l c o d e s C a t e g o r i e s C o r e C a t e g o r i e s L a t i n o s more e x p r e s s i v e \ e m o t i o n a l , m a t e r i a l i s m , bad i n f l u e n c e s , m a c h i s m o , human r i g h t s , more l i b e r a l , w e l f a r e s t a t e , r e s p e c t , d r u g s , s t r e e t k i d s , C a n a d i a n s more c a s u a l , C a n a d i a n s more p r i v a t e . r a c i s m , r a c i s m a t s c h o o l , p u t downs f r o m L a t i n o s , ashamed o f a c c e n t , c a n ' t be m y s e l f , p o l i c e d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , go home, how i t h u r t s , good r e c e p t i o n , h e l p f r o m C a n a d i a n s . so d i f f i c u l t a t f i r s t , d i d n ' t want t o come, p i l l o w f u l l o f t e a r s , m i x e d e m o t i o n s , f i g h t s due t o t e n s i o n , c r i m e a s c o p i n g , r e s i s t a n c e , j u s t s u r v i v i n g , c o p i n g . g a ng a s s u p p o r t s y s t e m , r e a c t i o n t o d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , n e g a t i v e s t e r e o t y p e s , gang members f r o m L o s A n g e l e s , p o l i c e t o o l a x , L a t i n o s u n d e r s u r v e i l l a n c e , c o m m u n i t y r e a c t i o n . C u l t u r a l D i f f e r e n c e s D i s c r i m i n a t i o n - A d a p t a t i o n S e t t l e m e n t P r o b l e m s Gangs 96 here i t ' s easy, b e t t e r c o n d i t i o n s , nobody s t a r v e s , myth of easy money, g r a t e f u l , can send money home, work and wait, work and w e l f a r e , g i v e something back l e a r n E n g l i s h , can't go to s c h o o l , can't graduate, put i n lower grade, E.S.L. waste of time, d i f f e r e n t standards f o r E.S.L., study and get ahead, d i s c r i m i n a t i o n from t e a c h e r s , some don't take advantage, u n i v e r s i t y h e l p my people, h e l p newcomers, go back a f t e r the war, dilemma-go or s t a y , I ' l l never f o r g e t , be somebody, buy t h i n g s , s o l i d a r i t y , develop s k i l l s f o r there, stay here f o r good. Economic O p p o r t u n i t i e s Education - Prospects Future Plans accustomed to war, t h r e a t s , nightmares, i n t r u s i v e memories, r e p r e s s i o n from a u t h o r i t i e s , f o r c e d r e c r u i t m e n t , k i l l i n g s , kidknappings, post traumatic s t r e s s , insomnia, l o s s of f a i t h , war was e x c i t i n g , wish someone would help, f e a r , l a c k of c o n c e n t r a t i o n i n s e c u r i t y , ambiguity, f e e l l i k e garbage, no s t a t u s , ashamed of w e l f a r e , double message. War and Trauma-r -War and Trauma comments of Refugee Claimants s e p a r a t i o n , t o r n away, here alone, grandmother, i n t e r - g e n e r a t i o n a l c o n f l i c t , new f a m i l y , r e u n i t e d , parents o v e r - r e a c t , p a r e n t i n g more democratic, parents f r u s t r a t e d , women change, machismo, can't go out, no communication, got to s t i c k t o g e t h e r . Family Dynamics 97 APPENDIX "C" Example of Interview Data Taken from Interview IX J. I went by myself to Mexico. My visa expired after 6 months so I applied to come to Canada. I couldn't go back to E l Salvador, so after 6 months the Canadian Consulate answered me and I came here. The shock of the change between E l Salvador and Mexico wasn't so strong, even though I missed my home, but they spoke the same language, food and everything. But when I came here i t was raining, in August. I spent the f i r s t month shut i n , I didn't want to go out, I wanted to go back to E l Salvador. I couldn't communicate with anyone, not even to ask for the key to my room at the hotel. Such a simple thing but I couldn't speak English and that depressed me more. I got sick that week and was sick with fever and a cold for a month, and another thing, I wasn't used to hot and cold water. I opened the tap and was h i t with r e a l l y hot water. I went to buy shampoo and bought dish washing l i q u i d . Things l i k e t h i s happen to a l o t of people. I wish there had been more people to orient me, people who had been here longer. But there wasn't anyone. I made friends with some people who were coming from the U.S. They could speak a l i t t l e English but they were new here too. They helped translate for me. I came in 1983, maybe i t wasn't very organized then. 98 L a t e r I went to l i v e with a Canadian woman. She was a d i r e c t o r of an agency that serves immigrants. She s t a r t e d to h e l p the newcomers. Another t h i n g was the E n g l i s h c l a s s e s . I have always s t u d i e d i n King Edward, I took the 5 months E.S.L. course there and l a t e r you can apply f o r a grant and they keep h e l p i n g you. I got my grade 1 2 that way and am now t a k i n g a course i n pharmacy. I t has been good, but i t ' s l i m i t e d . Only c e r t a i n people can take advantage. I f you do w e l l i n the c l a s s e s . But others can't make i t and they stay behind and aren't e l i g i b l e . The younger you are the e a s i e r i t i s to adapt. The environment i s very important. Many young people have j o i n e d gangs and gotten i n t o drugs. I think there i s a lack of p l a c e s f o r L a t i n youth. La quena ( c o f f e e house) i s f o r a d u l t s . There should be more r e c r e a t i o n f o r youth l i k e camping and gym. So i n s t e a d of wasting t h e i r time they can do b e t t e r t h i n g s . Being alone d i d n ' t a f f e c t me very much because when I came from Mexico I was pregnant. I met a guy the r e , but I had the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of my daughter. Maybe i f I had come without any commitments who knows what I would have done. But with the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r her I had to be c a r e f u l . I. What do you l i k e about Canada? J . I l i k e the o p p o r t u n i t y to study and express y o u r s e l f as you l i k e . I t doesn't matter what s o c i a l c l a s s you come from. I f you make an e f f o r t you can do i t . In E l Salvador I would never have been a b l e to have 2 c h i l d r e n and study and have my own s e l f -99 worth. Maybe I would have wanted to do more but I wouldn't have been able to due to my s o c i a l c l a s s . There i s no economic aid there. The f i r s t thing that affected me was the climate, but I had an opportunity to l i v e with a Canadian woman and had a very good impression of the people here. I . What don't you l i k e about Canada and the culture? J. One thing I don't l i k e i s that some people don't respect elders - there's a certain class of people. In E l Salvador there i s respect for elders. But there is n ' t much I don't l i k e , I haven't had bad experiences here. I. Was i t d i f f i c u l t to learn English? J. At f i r s t I got frustrated and I thought I would never learn i t . After fi v e months I was at a low l e v e l . The people who had come with me were doing much better. But when I was l i v i n g with that family I practised more and improved a l o t . I think that's a good thing for young people. Give them the opportunity to relate with the dictionary, looking up words, but after 1 year we could understand each other. I. What other d i f f i c u l t i e s ? J . I didn't have many problems except for when I got sick at f i r s t , whether i t was the shock of the climate or depression. 100 And the language, when you can't speak English, you can't communicate what you want to, and you think y o u ' l l never learn. That i s when you want to leave and go back with people who can speak my language, where I can work. I. When did that stage pass? J. It took a year. I wanted to go back that whole year. That's a problem, not to accept that you are here and you have to adapt. If I had kept that negative attitude, that I wasn't going to learn, I wouldn't have even wanted to go to school. But I was here, I was going to have my baby here. I needed to learn English and study, I had to be responsible for her. I. What are your future plans? J. I want to study. I don't have plans about where I w i l l l i v e . I am here but I was born there and my whole family i s there. I am the only one here. I don't know where I w i l l be in the future, whether here or there. Right now I am learning here, I am studying. I want to study some medicine or pharmacy. I am in a class in pharmacy now. But don't know i f my family was here I would make plans for my future here. But since they're there, maybe I ' l l go there but then I think of my children who were born here and don't have the same fantasies as I have about these. If they go there, t h e y ' l l be thinking about here. I. You are l i v i n g with your partner here? 101 J . Yes, her father came when she was 9 months old. He had been in Mexico since 1979. Sometimes I get confused in my head - should I go there? But i t would be more d i f f i c u l t for them. And the situation there. But then in the case that i t got better there. I. It seems that you didn't have such big problems in changing cultures, maybe because you l i v e d with that Canadian family? J. In E l Salvador I l e f t school at 12 years and went to work on a hacienda. I didn't have r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of looking after the house. I didn't have to do that and then when I came here we shared a l l the household duties, cooking and everything. And that helped me when her father came. At f i r s t i t was d i f f i c u l t for him, he expected that I would serve him. That he would come home and s i t down and expect me to do everything. I. But you had learned a d i f f e r e n t way? J. Right now we are adapting but for him i t was very d i f f i c u l t . We are both going to school. You don't work, I don't work. We spend the same amount of time in school. We have two children. We have to work together to make i t easier for each other. But he said no, that the woman should be at home, should 102 do everything - wash clothes, cook, serve him at the table and take care of him. I. It's a change in the women's role here? J. I always thought i t was the same because in E l Salvador we a l l worked. My grandmother, my brother, my step father and myself a l l went to work at the hacienda. I didn't cook. I would do housework and wash clothes at the river on Saturday. But I never had the attitude that the woman should stay at home. I l e f t school when I was 12. My mother told me I had to learn to read and to write my name because I was going to get married and none of those studies would be of any use to me. I. Do you have much contact with your family? J. We always write. My brother always writes that they are doing well or about his work. But I wish they would t e l l me about the s i t u a t i o n there. But he doesn't t e l l me that. 

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