cultural assessment

Cultural Assessment

Giger and Davidhizar’s Tran-cultural assessment model was created in 1988, as a way of enabling the treatment of people from various cultural programs. The model was catalyzed by the problems experienced by undergraduate students of nursing, who found it hard to provide the same form of care to people of different backgrounds, who reacted differently to similar aspects of treatment. The main aspects of the model are time, space, environmental control, social organization and biological variations. The essay below is intended to use the same model to assess the culture of a neighboring American family that has its roots in Africa.

Family Information

My best friend, Ken, is my immediate neighbor at home. He was born in the states but his father wasn’t. He is thus of a mixed race. His father was born in Kenya, which is a country in Africa. He went to school there, where he trained to be a chef. He was able to secure a job with an international company and was later relocated to the States. At first, he was on contract basis but was later hired permanently due to his ability to make staple foods from many races. He later fell in love with an American woman; they got married and had two children, Ken being the first born. Ken’s younger brother is 9 year and he is called Davis.

According to Ken’s family culture does not only involve the practices of one’s neighborhood, but also those created and practiced by people of their native origin. With the multicultural state of many people in the United States, Ken has taken an interest in learning the culture of the Kenyan people, whom he calls ‘my father’s people’. He acknowledges the existence of his African origin, and his father has taken them to Kenya a number of times to see his grandparents, as well as tour the African continent, which is well known for its ability to attract many tourists.

Communication

Since Ken, his mother and younger brother have lived in the States since birth; their main language of communication is American English. His father can however speak ‘Kiswahili’, which is the National language of the Kenyan people, as well as ‘Kikuyu’, which is his ethnic language. He also speaks fluent American English. He has, however, not taken the interest in teaching his wife or his children his extra languages since he does not see the need. Being American citizens, they have no plans to migrate to Africa and this makes learning African languages a waste of time. At the same time, when they go to Africa, their relatives are fluent English speakers. They can thus communicate with them easily, and without difficulty.

In non-verbal communication, Ken’s family has adopted some aspects of the Kenyan culture as well as the American one. For instance, when Ken’s father is happy, he pats him on the shoulder, which is a display of his pride in his son. The moment he is angry, he gives them silent treatment. If he wants one of his children to stop doing a particular thing, he points to them using his index finger, without saying a word. As I interviewed him, he said that he learnt that act from his mother. He was thus teaching some African means of non-verbal communication to his children, even though they did not learn the specific verbal language.

Space

Ken and his family are pretty comfortable living in the States. They have adopted the American lifestyle and grown into it. That includes the mode of dressing, the food they eat as well as the language they speak. The distance between America and Africa does not seem to bother them much though. They however travel to Kenya at least once in three years to visit their relatives. However, due to the short vacation time, they do not have enough time to learn more about the African culture.

Social Organization

The state of health in Kevin’s family is just like that of a normal American family. They are medically insured; they cook their food enabling a balanced diet, and have a family gym, where they exercise a couple of times a week. They thus take the necessary steps to a healthy living. Ken’s dad is a chef and his love for food has called for the need to have a gym to manage the calorie intake. The mother is a University professor, and this classifies them to the upper middle-class financial status(Njeru, 2009). They are staunch Roman Catholics, a religion coincidentally taught to both their parents while growing up.

Time

The aspect of time management is recognized as an important aspect. However, according to Ken, his dad has a little problem on punctuality. According to his dad, his ethnic tribe does not fully embrace the aspect of time management, and he cannot seem to shake it off despite the many years he has lived in the states.

Environmental Control

Environmental control is a common aspect in Africa as it is in USA. However, the gravity of it in the States is deeper.  The family also has no cultural beliefs on health aspects. They go to the hospital while sick just like any other normal American family. However, they pray to God to enable a quick recovery as they take their medicines. They thus combine religion with science in aspects concerning health. They believe that illness is part of being human, and like many stereotypes, not all Africans believe in spirits as the source of health and illness.

Biological Variation

Being of an African origin, Ken’s father is of a black complexion, compared to the white American complexion. The children however are lighter than the father considering the mother’s genetics as well as living in the American environment, where temperatures are warmer, especially during summer. Their immunity is surprisingly stronger than that of a Native American, not forgetting the strength of their skin due to the melanin composition. They are thus not prone to effects of temperature change as much as their white mother.

In their nutritional preferences, the family has spent most of their life in America and has thus adopted the American sandwich and burger eating culture. The father, however, prefers a home cooked meal, which is a reflection of the culture back in his native home. Ken’s mum thus makes sure that at least once a day, they have a home cooked meal; preferably supper. Their physical body structure is slightly different from the majority whites(Bottignole, 2004). They are slightly shorter than the Native American. At the same time, they love to work out and have thus developed more muscles than fat, making them look really fit. The mother has also adapted the work-out culture but she mostly prefers to run other than hit the gym.

Cultural Values

Ken’s family has relatively the same values as those upheld by every other American family. However, there are a couple of differences. For instance, the Prom in American high schools upholds the beginning of girls and boys dating. The African culture, however, allows their children to begin dating after college, and not before then. This is because marriage and sex are considered methods of procreation, not enjoyment. At the same time, sex before marriage is avoided in the African culture, in consideration that women are supposed to remain pure for their husbands. In America, so long as one is an adult, they can have responsible sex without being judged. The dress codes allowed in the African culture also display very little skin compared to the American form of dress-code, especially among the younger generation(Njeru, 2009). Despite living in America for more than twenty years, Ken’s father still upholds some of these cultural values, to a certain extent.

Appropriate Interventions

In relation to the assignment, it is important to embrace our roots. The country should consider the aspect of ensuring that American museums represent every individual. They should thus have aspects of all countries and origins of their people. This would enable the American immigrants have a sense of belonging. It would also enable the coming generations to embrace their roots(Bottignole, 2004). Learning about culture would enable the people appreciate and practice some of their people’s cultural values and norms.

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