We sit next to each other on the bus, returning from the 555 West Harrison courthouse. The weather hasn’t quite begun to settle into its downward spiral for winter temperatures. There is a nice breeze that calls for a light sweater, if that. We talk of Puebla, Mexico and folkloric dancing. I am shown photos of the shores of Lake Michigan, different relatives in each. A birthday party. A dance show. A quinceñera. We arrive back at Taller de José and, after a brief run-down of what we’d accomplished, go our separate ways.
Such was my work and accompaniment with Lupe*, a woman who came to Taller de José seeking assistance to begin divorce proceedings against her abusive husband. I remain inspired by Lupe’s courage as she recounted her lived reality to me, a complete stranger, a male stranger at that, with the hope of reaching change. Though I only met with Lupe two times including our trip to the courthouse, I will always remember our interactions.
I have been an intern at Taller de José for two months now. Though not a particularly long time, I feel I am a compañero not only with the clients but, as important, with my colleagues. All at Taller are ever-willing to assist one another, always ready to answer questions and support each other’s endeavors. All bring different backgrounds to our work at the organization, and yet we all have the same goal of meeting our clients where they are at in order to most effectively accompany them on their journey. Taller de José is a truly unique organization, an entity that fosters a passion for all, an appreciation for those we accompany, yes, but also for each other. For ultimately, we are all compañeros on the enigmatic certainty that is life.
*Name changed for client confidentiality