Dr. Patricia Levi
Intro to Social Work
17 September 2014
Power & Powerless
My experience: It has been 12 years since I came to this country. The differences between Guatemala and United States are enormous, and the adaptation to the new life is incredibly hard. Just like any other immigrant, I had the obstacle of the language and with out the language I was not able to communicate with others. Another important obstacle was that I left all my relatives in Guatemala and I did not know anybody in the US. When you find yourself in a place where you do not know anything about it, everybody have power over you. I have known different kinds of people while I have live in the US. A lot of them wanted to take advantage of my immigration status and make some profit with me. For example immigration lawyers that promise to fix my illegal status for a green card. They said if I give them five thousand dollar, they would take care of everything and I should not be worry. I gave them one thousand dollars in advance and I was going to pay the rest in monthly payments. As you will imagine, he did not anything, they were not even an immigration lawyers. Another example is when I did not have any money and a friend offered me to sell drugs. The only thing that I had to do was drive a car for ten hours to San Antonio, Texas. Of course, I did not accept the offer, but I lost him as a friend. These are just a few examples of how I felt powerless when dealing with other people.
I have a particular concept of power. Superior authorities do not give power. Those under authority give power. No one can have power over a person, just if that person accepts the authority. I have seen people with power that have hard time implementing that power over the people that are under their authority. They do not receive any respect from these people. They have the position or the promotion, but someone else has the power over the people. I felt powerless several times, but there was a time when I met Donald and Key Linville who I call “my adopted parents.” They have been a positive influence in my life over the years I have been in the US. They let me stay in their house while I was looking for my own apartment and they encourage me to take my GED and some English classes. Even when I did not speak English, they always tried to find ways to say the important things to me. They bought me my first car in the US and paid for my theological seminary.
My reaction: I do not like to feel powerless, and I do not like to make people feel powerless either. It is wonderful to feel powerless with people that you know are going to help you. But, feeling powerless with people that you do not know well is the scariest thing ever. The first few years in this country I felt insecure, abandoned, and alone. I was thinking that coming to this country was the biggest mistake in my whole life. However, now I think moving here was a great blessing. I think feeling powerless is not a bad thing; the dangerous thing is how you react to that feeling. I am so thankful and feel so fortunate that I took the right decisions in the right time and do not have any regrets in my life while being here. Now I know that everything has its own purpose. When I met Donald and Key, I felt so secure and their help and support defined what I