Cross-Cultural Research - Boy Soldier - Seirra Leone

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Inman – Pg. 1
Todd Inman - NNU ID#63439
Word Count - 3469
Professor: Dr. Gorman/D. Blowers
PRTH2405 Christian Missions – Intercultural Lab Tier 2
February 1, 2013

CROSS-CULTURAL TIER 2 REFLECTION PAPER
on “JOSHUA” from SIERRA LEONE

My first interview with Joshua took place on January 29, 2013 – 3 hours

I met Joshua (not his real name, due to the fact that he is an incarcerated juvenile) approximately 3 years ago at the Juvenile Corrections Center in Nampa, ID (JCCN). Although I no longer work for JCCN, had the privilege of sitting down with him for the purpose of this class assignment. I sat down with Joshua on two different occasions today for a total of 3 hours. Within these three years of knowing Joshua, he and I developed a good rapport with each other. Joshua was introduced to the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections when he committed a felony of assault upon a certain person and possession of drugs (namely marijuana).

Joshua was born and raised in Sulima, Sierra Leone until moving to Idaho when he was 9 years old. He was kidnapped by his uncle, at the age of 7, and forced into being a boy soldier for approximately 6 months. After moving to Idaho, Joshua began to have trouble with the law and was eventually incarcerated in the juvenile system.

Although Joshua presently appears to be adapting to society here in the US, I believe that he has some underlining issues that are not being addressed within the juveniles system in Idaho. I am not sure how well his issues can be addressed, considering the lack of our understanding of what he faced in Sierra Leone and its surrounding areas. We have professionals who work with people suffering from disorders such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), to which he definitely has. However, it is my opinion that unless one totally understands this target culture, they cannot possibility create a sense of healing from Joshua’s past.

It appears that Joshua had a difficult time adjusting to the structured environment of the juvenile system. As I spoke to him about the adjustment, he claimed that in his culture, time was never an issue. According to Joshua, his culture is more interested in the events of what are happening around them than the actual time of when to be where and the specifics of what needs to be done. Joshua claims that at first a structure schedule drove him crazy and often times he acted out behaviorally on his anger. Joshua mentioned that here in the US, we wake up to alarm clocks. However, in Sierra Leone, he and his family woke up when the sun began to shine through their windows and went to bed when they were tired sometime after dark.

Inman – Pg. 2

It is my opinion that Joshua continues to suffer from PTSD. However, although I wish he would have received help elsewhere, his time with the juvenile system helped in forcing him to adjust to our culture and ways of living.

I asked Joshua to share with me a little about his culture and life in Sierra Leone. Joshua grew up in a fairly middle class family. His mother worked in some form of government; however, Joshua claimed that he didn’t really know what she did. Joshua claims that rebels killed his father when he was about 6 years old.

At the age of 7, Joshua claims that he was kidnapped by his uncle and forced into being a boy soldier for the Revolutionary Unified Front (RUF). Although Joshua only spent 6 months as a captive of the RUF, according to him, it was 6 months of brainwashing, fear, anger and learning how to be violent and deceptive. He claimed that at the end of the 6th month, he began to like his new lifestyle and didn’t want to come home, although home is where he knew he needed to be. Joshua and his mother moved to the United States when he was 9 years of age.

Throughout the 3 years that I have known Joshua and even during parts of my time interviewing him, I found him slightly deceptive at times. The more I questioned him,...
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