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In life, we are bound to meet different people with different orientations, beliefs, self concept and culture. We are also bound to have those whom we find it easy to relate with and those whom we don’t easily relate with. In most cases, it is their behavior that either makes us attracted to them or not. I have interacted with many people whom I was able to discover many things about them. In my interaction with them, I usually try to get many details of their personal life as possible. This paper will look at my recent interaction with peter, who is an immigrant from Africa and who has gone through a number of transformations in his life.

Peter happens to have been brought up in a poor family that witnessed the epitome of Rwandese ethnic clashes that left many people dead and masses injured. He narrates very well how he saw his parents killed in an inhumane way despite his plea to the killers to spare the parents. He was also not left behind in the brutality and managed to escape death by a whisker. As the killers wanted to kill him, an opponent group emerged and during the engagement, he managed to hide in the nearby maize plantation where he was rescued by missionaries who were treating the critically injured people. It was through their effort and assistance that he managed to get a visa to this country. He is currently pursuing his education here and looks forward to help others once he completes his studies and gets employed.

His family was humble, poor but very hard working. During his early years, the parents encouraged him to go to church and that is how he ended up being a Christian. The family therefore believed in Christian doctrines which emphasized good morals and respect for all. At some point in the interview I ask him “what propelled the violence in your country”? peter: “ there was rumors that was instigated more through the radio that our community was more favored than the other tribe and this triggered animosity between the two major ethnic groups” he furthered narrated how peaceful they coexisted with each other before being incited to turn against one another. Peter says that their way of life was greatly affected since up to date, though they forgave one another, they still live in fear that such incident can happen again more so if politicians don’t take a leading role to preach peaceful coexistence with one another. He is 19 years old and he still vividly remembers the fateful event that left him an orphan. This thought makes him get emotional and wish he could get hold of those who conducted this act. I decide to probe him further to determine his emotional stability. When I ask him what value their culture put in women, he keeps quiet for a moment. He responds, “You see, your culture is very funny.  You give women equal rights like men! Let me tell you, in our culture, this is unheard of. Women are not supposed to talk when men are talking, they are supposed to be submissive and can qualify for a beating when they wrong men, and this is culturally accepted”. It is at this point that I understand that he can get temperamental easily when provoked by a woman than a man. He further pointed that they used to fight when they were young and that this helped in instilling confidence in them.

Peter is hardworking and respectful to authority and elderly people. He says this attributes were inculcated in him from a tender age since his Christian background emphasized they be people of good character. This can be associated with Kolb’s theory of experiential learning. According to Kolb, when an individual is presented with items that advocate for a certain behavior, coupled with practice, it leads to a learning opportunity that becomes way of living to exposed people (Kolb, 168). It is therefore likely that the good behavior exhibited by peter is a result of his early upbringing. Since he hails from a poor country that required them to start working at an early age to get basic needs, this could be the reason as to why he prefers working hard to achieve goals and objectives. Having been a Christian, this shows why he respects others as it is one of the attributes the bible advocates for.

He is physically fit, which he attributes it to the early way of living where they could spend a lot of time playing traditional games. Although he doesn’t play for any club, he is active in sports and uses most of his leisure time in games and sports. He says that he derives pleasure and satisfaction any time he actively participates in games and this helps him relieve the tension and day to day stress that he finds to be more in his new country compared to his mother country.

Social competence is an important aspect in life. It looks at how well one can thrive in social situations and the ability to influence others during such forums. In this regard, owing to his cultural background, Peter is a little bit challenged in terms of self confidence. This is attributed to social orientation where he finds it hard to have anything entertaining to people from a different cultural background. He further attributes this to the way they were made to believe that white skinned people are superior to them from an early age. They perceived these people to be more learned, rich and knowledgeable.  This belief has continued to affect his self confidence and continues to perceive them to be superior even though he performs better than most of them in class. This is the effect of cultural orientation that can haunt an individual for many years. When I ask him how he would fare with people from his community if he goes back, he answers “I will be a celebrity more so with my enhanced communications skills and new life style”. This is an indication that most people in Africa have been made to believe all westerners are rich, bright and deserves to be respected.

By peter having interacted with two cultural orientations, he says he is more advantaged to borrow positive attributes from both cultures. He is now learned and can demystify some of the beliefs his community have believed to be true for many decades. On the other hand, he also says he has gained knowledge on importance of shedding of some of the cultural beliefs like female genital mutilation that has been practiced for many years and yet adds no value and instead affects women negatively.

In a nutshell, cultural background and social orientation can either make or inhibit progression of an individual. Having an opportunity in the right community is an effective way of coming up with a better generation that will be equipped with skills and knowledge to tackle challenges of the 21st century. It will be appropriate to say that no culture is superior to other since all of them have the positive and the negative side. The best way is to strike a balance and borrow good things from other cultures and in the same time discard those that are considered to be primitive and outdated in our generation.

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