SN is recently arrived to America and is living with her sponsor family, an older couple from Nigeria who are attempting to help their former countrymen find a better life. This couple had children in Nigeria, but lost them to disease and starvation before they were able to secure their own passage to America. Having lived in this country for several years, they are now in a position to help others and have determined to do this by offering shelter and support for one child at a time. The ‘family’ lives in a two-bedroom apartment of which SN has one room entirely to herself. SN was provided with education and lessons in English prior to her arrival in America, so she is able to interact with her classmates and keep up with regular classes at the local high school.
My interview with SN took place within the apartment she shared with her sponsors. We sat within a very comfortable sofa group in the living room with the television turned off and no other noise happening in the house. Her sponsors were both at work at the time and SN had just returned home from school for the afternoon. Before conducting the interview, I had received agreement from both SN and her sponsors to speak with her about her background and present life and had set up the appointment to be sure everyone knew when it was to take place. SNs sponsors were invited to be present and I was willing to make arrangements to conduct the interview at a time convenient to their schedules if they so desired, but they felt SN would be more open and comfortable if she were permitted to speak without their presence. In making these arrangements, I shared the basic elements of my assignment with them and some of the questions I planned to ask. During the interview, SN sat quietly on the couch, calmly answering my questions and occasionally expressing strong emotion, particularly when she ...
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