Recently, Taller de José received a call from a partner agency, asking if we could accompany an individual from the far north side of Chicago to the far south side to offer support in the process of resolving an issue of child custody. The individual was a survivor of domestic violence and worried about returning to the neighborhood where her abuser lived. It sounded like a situation that would be a good fit for Taller de José’s services of accompaniment. However, this was a particularly unique case because the individual’s primary language was French, which none of Taller de José’s staff members speak. After explaining that we wouldn’t be able to translate, Taller de José agreed to send a compañera to accompany the individual.
The ride on public transportation took nearly an hour and half one way, and even though they couldn’t communicate through words, the compañera could tell that the client was nervous. When they reached their destination, the compañera made sure that the client found where she needed to go and stayed by her side for moral support throughout the process. After the issue was resolved and they returned to the train, it was clear that the client was feeling a huge sense of relief, knowing that she and her daughter were now much safer. The compañera shared, “even though she couldn’t tell me in words, her smile made it clear that she was grateful for my presence there. It made me realize that even when I can’t help by translating for a client, often my presence is the most important thing I can offer.” Taller de José is honored that so many men and women like this client have trusted us to offer our presence through the ministry of accompaniment.