Contact Us
How do you tolerate racist patients? Gambian immigrant, Amie Faal talks about working as a primary caregiver in Sweden
Home » Exclusive  »  How do you tolerate racist patients? Gambian immigrant, Amie Faal talks about working as a primary caregiver in Sweden
How do you tolerate racist patients? Gambian immigrant, Amie Faal talks about working as a primary caregiver in Sweden

Amie Faal is among hundreds of Gambians working as primary caregivers in Sweden. In this interview with the Swedish blog, All Afrosvensk Everythang, Amie talks about being a black primary caregiver:

All Afrosvensk Everythang: Can you explain briefly about your background?

Amie:I am originally from The Gambia. I work as a primary caregiver, and came to Sweden in 1987 because my dad was a refugee. In The Gambia, I grew up in the capital, Banjul.

How would you describe your identity here in Sweden?

It depends on who I meet or hang with. With white Swedes, I feel Swedish. But if I meet Swedes with African origin, irrespective of where they come from, I usually identify myself as an African. I think this is because there are a lot of similarities among the different African cultures and this makes it easy to identify yourself simply as an African.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to feel like a Swede, especially when I meet people that do not want to accept me as a Swede. But I always insist that I’m a Swede. I live and work in this country; I am a citizen here, so I am a Swede.

What does it mean for you to be black?

A very strong meaning! I usually say that black is a skin colour that many want to have. We have seen white people going to solariums or sunbathing. So it is a skin colour that is really appreciated. But some people are refusing to show it, or express their desire to have it – all because we black people were discriminated during slavery.

But for me, what counts most is the person behind the skin colour. I am a human being and that is the most important.

Can your identity affect your career; if yes, in what ways?

Yes, I work as a primary caregiver in a health centre and I am the only black there. I have been there for eight years. When I started, I had a lot of patients that were not nice towards me…..

I was loved as a child and I knew, from my parents, that no one should hit me or say nasty things to me.

It’s common to hear that we Africans come from terrible cultures, but that is not true. There are bad things in the Swedish culture like it is in the African culture. I came to Sweden with the best part of the Gambian culture and combined it with the best in the Swedish culture. After few years at work, I was able to show my personality and they starting warming to me.

As a primary caregiver, what is your experience in the way Afro-Swedes are treated in the Swedish health sector?

I think white Swedes are generally treated better than people with foreign background. I have seen it myself with my own eyes and it’s not only once.

What do we need to change this in the health sector?

People who work in the health sector should be empathetic, and this is something that you cannot obtain via training – it should be an inborn talent. So we can genuinely say that the Swedish health sector should be more Afro-Swedish. I think, we Afro-Swedes are usually more empathetic than the others, may be because we are brought up in a culture where we share, and take care of our elderly.

What should you consider as an Afro-Swede when you visit a health center?

The most important thing to consider is - if you don’t understand the Swedish language, make sure you are provided with a good interpreter.

It is important that the health centre has someone who understands the language and also the laws within the health sector.

Translated by What’s On-Gambia. Click below to read the whole interview in Swedish.



Leave a Reply