Interview for

Godwin Agaba

7/13/2020

Interviewed By:

Sophie Li

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 57:22
Summary

Mr. Agaba, a journalist originally from Uganda, describes living there and in Rwanda, before fleeing to Kenya to escape war and eventually finding refuge in the United States. He explains his interest in journalism as an effective tool for advocacy, his Anglican Christian identity, and his own experience of acculturation in the United States.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Godwin Agaba

Date: July 13, 2020

Location: Dayton, Ohio (Mr. Agaba); Hong Kong (Sophie, Interviewer)


Summary: Mr. Agaba, a journalist originally from Uganda, describes living there and in Rwanda, before fleeing to Kenya to escape war and eventually finding refuge in the United States. He explains his interest in journalism as an effective tool for advocacy, his Anglican Christian identity, and his own experience of acculturation in the United States.

Topics: Advocacy, Discrimination, Education, Employment, Immigration Process (Asylum-Seeker), Journalism, Personal finance, Place of worship, Politics, Race, Religious Identity, Religious Practice.


Outline

Section 1: 02: 29 - 10:06

  • Immigration Process - Mr. Agaba was born and lived in Uganda until he moved to Rwanda for work. Then he fled both countries and stayed in Kenya. It was, finally, from Kenya that he made his journey to the United States.

  • Employment - Mr. Agaba is a journalist by profession. He worked in journalism in Rwanda for ten years; but he had earlier been educated in Uganda. Ultimately, he had to flee because there was negative reception of his stories on corruption and human rights violations.

  • Advocacy - Mr. Agaba states that he had an interest in journalism since he was a high school student. He believes that journalism can be an effective tool for advocacy, which he hopes to do through creating documentaries.

Section 2: 10:06 - 17:03

  • Advocacy - Mr. Agaba is pursuing different journalistic projects. He has called one of them “Refugee World,” and he intends for it to be a platform that gives refugees a voice.

  • Education - Mr. Agaba returned to school to further his studies in journalism so that he could gain the skills necessary to follow through with all of his ambitious projects.

  • Journalism - Besides the conventional way of disseminating news (newspapers), Mr. Agaba also uses his social media platforms to share news stories with other people.

  • Race - Mr. Agaba believes that if the world is to achieve equality, it should achieve first in households.

Section 3: 17:03 - 28:29

  • Religious Identity - Mr. Agaba identifies as a Christian and more specifically as an Anglican. He was born and raised in an Anglican family.

  • Immigration Process - Mr. Agaba thinks the immigration process for refugees is “wrong” as it can proceed for years without any substantial advancements.

  • Places of worship - While describing the journey refugees take to come to the United States, Mr. Agaba reveals that on behalf of the refugees the International Migration Organization (IMO) handles the travel processes while the USA Conference of Catholic Bishops organizes the finances through a loan program. The loans that refugees accept are interest-free and can be repaid whenever the borrower is ready.

  • Personal finance - Mr. Agaba shares that like many refugees coming to America, he too received financial support from the USA Conference of Catholic Bishops to immigrate from Nairobi, Kenya to Dayton, Ohio.

  • Discrimination -  Mr. Agaba emphasizes that the USA Conference of Catholic Bishops does not discriminate against its borrowers in any way - even by religion.

Section 4: 28:29 - 35:22

  • Immigration Process - After arriving in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Agaba was welcomed by Catholic Social Services. Mr. Agaba was taken aback by how willing Catholic Social Services was to help him find an Anglican community even though it was not technically in their interest

  • Places of worship - Through the friends he made at the Anglican church he decided to attend,  Mr. Agaba was able to secure his first job in the United States as a librarian aide.

  • Places of worship - Mr. Agaba illuminates on the essential role that churches play in helping refugees find employment: for example, his Anglican church taught some refugees how to sew such that they could be employed by a Dayton factory that makes military uniforms; a certain Catholic church offered English classes to refugees of all religious backgrounds.

  • Assimilation - Mr. Agaba witnessed how religious organizations such as Catholic Social Services support refugees as they adjust themselves to American society. He suggests researchers interested in refugees should document the contributions of religious institutions to refugee resettlement.

Section 5: 35:22 - 42: 47

  • Cultural Adjustment - Mr. Agaba believes that the support offered by religious social services to refugees resettling in the United States is so critical to how smoothly their process goes.

  • Places of worship - Mr. Agaba believes that one of the ways refugees can retain their own cultures while assimilating into the American one is through church. For example, he mentions a Congolese community of Adventists who opened their own church with the help of an American Adventist church that was already established.

Section 6: 42: 47 - 57: 13

  • Personal finance - Mr. Agaba believes that one of the most important skills that refugees can learn from resettlement services is personal finance, especially through loan programs.

  • Religious Practice - Mr. Agaba reveals that children of refugees who visit their places of worship regularly can actually inspire their own parents to be more active in their religious practices.