This article presents the story of Chandra (her real name), a middle-aged, Guyanese-American woman attending an adult education center in the Northeast United States. Chandra grew up in extreme poverty in Guyana, and was taken out of school at age eight to help meet the family’s basic needs. At age 22, she immigrated to the United States in hopes of better opportunities. Through narrative methods, Chandra’s story is constructed from 34, narrative and expository, written texts that she composed for a literacy tutoring program, as well as three, in-depth, oral interviews. The result is a moving account of Chandra’s childhood in Guyana, immigration and acculturation in the United States, and her determination to continue her education despite the obstacles she has faced.


Adult Education, Immigration, Narrative Inquiry

Author Bio(s)

Robin L. Danzak, Ph.D., explores multilingual language and literacy and the relationships among language, culture, and identity, especially as expressed through writing, of bilingual adolescents and adults. From a sociocultural perspective and through collaborative, qualitative/mixed methodologies, Robin engages language learners in meaningful, authentic text composition to promote language and literacy skills, self-expression, and participation. An interdisciplinary, multilingual educator and researcher, Robin has published various articles and chapters and was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award in 2014. She is an assistant professor of speech-language pathology at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut. Correspondence regarding this article can be directly addressed to: danzakr@sacredheart.edu.


The author is deeply grateful to Chandra for her openness and enthusiasm, her story-telling talents, and her commitment to learning and personal growth. Many thanks also to Stephanie Ridge for her assistance with interview transcription and data processing.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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