Martha Lopez-Hill, Colombia/USA

Narrative ideas have influenced my work with Latino populations in the USA by helping me provide contexts where community members’ resources, strengths, and skills are brought forward because sometimes they lose their dignity through fear and poverty.

Often, we stigmatise the Latino population as a community with many deficits, but what I have seen in five years of working with Latinos is how caring the community is. They care about their families, they care about neighbours, and they care about people who visit them. They always want you to feel welcome. They always want to give you something or make something for you when you visit their homes.

I can see that ‘caring’ is a wonderful skill that can restore what is impaired in our lives because caring really does makes a difference. I believe Latino families often lose this sense of caring when they come to another culture. They feel they have lost their authority as parents and grandparents so appreciated by Latinos. They feel they can’t speak their children’s language or give them advice as parents.

What I value most in working with this community comes from the narrative approach, which allows me the opportunities to assist in rescuing what they may have lost that is most precious to them – their hopes and dreams.

I can see that narrative ideas, and specifically Michael White’s ideas, are very applicable to help ‘fill the gap’ in what has been lost through the process of acculturation.

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