Theme Supporting Quotes
Nature, means and type of support:
Different forms of support may be provided (financial, emotional spiritual, practical) “We provided some little money for his upkeep during the time he arrived there. He could tell us he was missing some little money because he was not yet familiar with that place.”
“We would get [send] money for upkeep and also for her staying there before she could stabilize there.”
“Yeah… emotionally… I think that’s the main support we give to her.”
“…but the main thing you can do is talk to them and encourage them…”
“My American family they need me socially but economically they are ok.”
“I stay online with her for hours… pray with her…”
“I helped her find a job because I’m familiar with the American system.”
“I requested one of my friends if they can help her stay at their house for about a month until we get her an apartment…”
Support may be back home “Yeah, he [sister’s son] is living with us, the family that remained here…”
“This one child is learning in a certain local school [in Kenya] which is not very expensive so that at least she [the mother who remained in Kenya] and the other family members can sustain the boy in school.”
“…if they want to inspect some houses at home … we buy land for them…They are not here- they send money and then we go and we buy for them … that is the way we are helping them”.
“So there used to be this moment when the mom [my aunt] was sick I would always go and take good care of her in the hospital, see her, visit her and give feedback on how her mom is getting on. Basically that is the kind of support, but not financial…”
Families maintain contact to varying degrees and use different means to maintain contact and communication; also depends on access to technology, financial means and logistics “My uncle has an email address which they use to communicate because he has an email address and Wi-Fi in the office. In case I have to use the internet I have to ask him and then I can give me the internet and then I communicate with other people.”
“We are using WhatsApp. But mostly it is usually them who ring, not us. Their schedule is a bit different than with ours. With ours they can call anytime but with them it has to be a specific time.”
“…she’s on WhatsApp with family members… with her cousins she’s on Facebook…”
“By phone, we use the phone.”
“…calling her every other day, sending her text messages… I write letters.”
“But there are challenges. Basically economic. Because unless you have good, high income travelling is very expensive. So that is something. Most of the immigrant people they are not able to visit as often as they wish. That is a challenge.”
Shifts in support over time and influences on nature and type of support:
Support may vary with time and circumstances “At one point we had to organize for a fund raising in order to send him some money so that he could make some ends to meet. So at one point we did some fundraising to send him some money for the upkeep and part of it to pay for his units [courses] that he was finalizing with.”
“Financially we can help him when he’s stuck.”
“Yeah, for the first year we were assisting him. But after some couple of years he was assisting himself.”
“I believe that support may be in the initial stages, then after the family in the US stabilizes then the support doesn’t come as much. Then the person in the US supports those back home, financially.”
Reason, context and age at migration may influence need for support “Yeah, she was young, but it was not so difficult when she moved. Because already she could have some people out there to interact with.”
“They had adequate resources. My wife was employed. I had left to them a house. So basically they were well taken care of… they need me socially but economically they are ok.”
“The one [brother] who went 10 years back made the way for the other two.”
Relationship and/or closeness to migrant, age and gender may influence nature and intensity of support “Personally I don’t have a contact. It’s an uncle of mine that is very close to him that has his contact.”
“I guess because I’m her mother the support just comes naturally.”
“… the boy literally got brought up in our home… So he grew like my child. He was my nephew so of course I support him.”
“With her cousins. She’s on Facebook…”
“I also have bigger children, he is more closer to my children, they communicate quite a number of times, not so much with me. Their aunt, that’s my wife, is also a bit more closer to him.”
Childrearing support may be less welcomed or more challenging due to language barriers and/or families’ may be less interested or inclined to give or are not as close with children abroad “Because when you have children in the first world like the US, the kids have that culture. We don’t take advice, we feel that in the US we have better advice, better knowledge, it looked like things were not as good here, as far as raising a child is concerned.”
“I think I was adequately well informed on how to take care of my children [in the US]. Actually my mother [in Kenya] she did not have the capacity to do that.”
“Yes, we just saw them [the children]. But we don’t contact them.”
“Yes I will keep contact [with grandchildren in the US], but I am not really sentimental about those issues...”
“… But they [my family in Kenya] had difficulty communicating with my children because my children did not learn my local language.”
Expectations from those back home and bi-directional support:
Support is often bi- directional “In fact they are helping us a great deal. I am very happy for them. They are doing well. And the upkeep of my parents they are taking care of them. They are also sponsoring our other brother there.”
“Domestic things…they send money. Medical expenses. If we have a funeral… they come in and they assist.”
“And also sometimes he was assisting us. For most of the time he was assisting us.”
“Yeah he sends money. And also moral support. Like prayer.”
“I had a good friend who brought her aunt who stayed with her about five years [in the US]. Until the kid was five. But in exchange they bought her a piece of land. Because she was a widow.”
Expectations from migrant families vary “We are expecting that if things go well he can even support some of my siblings. Also for their education.”
“They support themselves. Also I support myself in Kenya. I am employed in Kenya… No I don’t need their support.”
“I can say that I can make my own way by myself. And what I want. I don’t need to ask them for support or for money. So I can’t say that I got any support from them.”
“If they’re aware of the structure their family is living in, like maybe their mother or dad, maybe living in poor conditions then I also think they have an obligation of using their opportunity to stay in the united states to be able to build a good house for their family member.”
Strain, stresses and tensions:
Transnational context generally may cause family tensions, sadness or difficult situations “Yes it was [difficult at first]… He [my nephew] just got used to his mom being away… so I think things are just ok now.”
“Looking at all these things he is not better off in Canada… Yeah very difficult for the wife…For the wife and for us all.”
“The parents may feel really disappointed, because their child went to the US expecting them to complete school, get a job, and then support the family. In Africa that is very normal. And then the child disappears, so that is very sad.”
“Some are bitter and [think] why should they be in the US and not me.”
“…he wanted to support his sister [in Kenya] who was in secondary school, and he started sending money to help his sister. But then the money was coming through the elder brother who was now not channeling that money, not using that money to the school. It actually was a bit of a problem… I think that kind of brought bad relationship.”
Support giving may cause strain and/or family tension “But we really sympathize with his wife plus his young boy the son [who stayed behind]...So at certain times we have to chip in economically here and there and we also have our families to take care of.”
“…the difficulty was during the time we were supporting him, we also happened to have another of fellow children in school and at that time the finances were a bit low on our side, so actually it was not so easy to actually support him to his satisfaction.”
“My father in law was very supportive. And he insisted that the family had to chip in to pay for my daughter… It created animosity. I’m not in good terms with my brother in law because of that because they said I should have convinced her to stay here…”