As I reflect on my time here at Taller de José I think of the various clients that I had the opportunity to work with and accompany, and I find myself asking, how did I do this? I came into this internship with a limited mastery of the language and even less mastery of how to navigate government structures and programs. I don’t know how, but somehow I was able to navigate those structures, despite the imperfectness of my abilities.
Throughout my time as a compañero I would listen to the other compañer@s speak and converse with their clients in seemingly fluent Spanish, and I would find myself wishing that I was half as good as them. As I worked with more clients and became more familiar with the vocabulary I needed, I found myself gaining greater confidence in my ability to navigate the language barrier and how to more effectively communicate the resources available to the client in a way that they could understand it. Even if my Spanish is broken, I have found that the clients were still able to comprehend what I was communicating and have been able to take the necessary next steps towards achieving their goals.
This realization became most evident to me when I accompanied a client to obtain funds to help pay for utility bills. Once we started to meet with the case worker we presented the required documents to begin the application. An issue arose when the client presented two bills, both of which were addressed to the client, but had different addresses. I had to act as a mediator between the case worker and the client to resolve the issue. It took a little time and patience for all of us to work through figuring out this situation with the documents we needed to bring. Eventually we were able to successfully submit the application and the client was able to receive funding for their utilities for the next several months.
My time at Taller de José has given me a renewed sense of confidence in myself as a compañero and as a minster that I can make a difference in someone else’s life, despite my own imperfections. Being a compañero at Taller de José has helped me to embrace more fully who I am as a person and as a minister. I am not going to get everything right all the time on the first try. None of us are perfect. I don’t think most clients expect perfection either. What matters is that we put forward our best effort, despite our imperfections and shortcomings. We all have a line to contribute to the great story of life. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I write very crooked. But despite our greatest imperfections, I believe that the Great Author knows how to write straight with crooked lines.