Cultural Interview of a Brazilian Immigrant
Olga V. Moreira
Florida International University
The purpose of this interview is to obtain ideas and opinions of a Brazilian immigrant to the United States of America on various aspects of the Brazilian culture and its relation to healthcare. Purnell’s Model of Cultural Competence, which uses both primary and secondary characteristics of culture, will be used to guide the interview format and questions in relation to (a) high risk behaviors, (b) spirituality and (c) health care practices.
Overview and Topography
Brazil is a vast country rich in natural resources and beauty in the continent of South America. Located in the east-central coast of South America, it is the largest country in South America occupying nearly half the continent. Brazil’s topography is vast with its most priceless treasures inarguably being the Amazon Rain Forest. The Amazon River and its components attribute to two fifths of the country with the Amazon Basin making up 40% of the continent of South America (“Brazil”, n.d.). The Portuguese settlers were the first to arrive in Brazil and quickly found they were not alone, discovering the many tribes of natives that called Brazil their home for hundreds and maybe even thousands of years. These Portuguese settlers were not determined to conquer as the Spaniards, but were poor sailors who were seeking items for trade. This made it easy for the settlers to intermarry with the natives as well as the slaves they had brought from Africa, creating the mix of races known in Brazil today (Geographia, 2006). The Portuguese were not the only ones to seek Brazil to escape their situation and they were quickly joined by many immigrants such as French, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, African and Arab, with Portuguese remaining the dominant and official language of Brazil. These cultures have blended into one to form the colorful Brazil that many of us know and love today. Despite their multiple ancestries, Brazilians share many of the same traditions and qualities amongst themselves with some variations existing according to socio-economic status (Coler, 2008). The cultural interview was conducted on a 40 year old man, L.C. Passos., who migrated to the United States of America from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. His purpose was not to stay, but to study and return to his country once his studies were over. But fate dealt him a new set of cards when he met his future wife during his internship at the United Nations in New York City. As a young man in his early 20’s, he wandered back and forth between the two countries until he decided to call the United States home once and for all in 1996. He has kept many of his traditions and customs as his family has for many years. He is the youngest child of five, from an upper- middle class family; his mother a school principle and father a high ranking official in the Brazilian Army. He describes Rio de Janeiro as a place full of natural beauty that is unfortunately inundated with social inequities. He has completed graduate school and places high importance on education, which he learned from both his parents and is evidenced by his siblings, all being professionals, one that completed graduate school and three having doctorate degrees (L. C. Passos, personal communication, October 15, 2009). . Literature Review
High Risk Behaviors
Many cultures share alcohol consumption as a high risk behavior, but some new research is showing that Brazilians’ use of alcohol is rising quickly. In 2001, Carlini-Marlatt stated, “A study based on data from the Global Status Report on Alcohol suggests that per capita alcohol consumption in Brazil had a 74.5% increase over the period between 1970 and 1996, a situation quite the opposite to many other countries worldwide” (Pinsky & Laranjeira, 2003, p. 17). As the...