Compañeras@s never truly know why an individual is coming to our doors, and many times it isn’t until sitting down and listening to their story that we find out. Clients come in for a variety of reasons– translations, emotional support, physical accompaniments, referrals, and the list goes on and on– but, most importantly, clients come in because they trust Taller de José staff. I have honestly lost count of how many times I have heard a new client say that a friend, a former client of Taller de José, encouraged him or her to visit us.
Daniela* has been a returning client at Taller de José for the past couple years; however, I have been lucky to meet with her three times during my time with Taller de José. Before asking what I can assist her with, she always tells me “disculpa por la molestia pero es que si te tengo confianza,” “sorry to bother you, but it’s because I trust you.” I assure her that she is not a bother and that I am glad she visited Taller de José again.
I’ll never forget this particular visit. Daniela had taken advantage of a government-supported program that offers free cell phones and minutes to qualifying applicants. However, the cell phone she received was touch screen. Since I believe many of us have a touch screen device at hand, we wouldn’t consider this a conflict. However, for Daniela who is close to seventy years old and had never had to rely on a touch screen device, it was very challenging.
She was very frustrated because although she had received a phone from the government- supported program, she could not figure out how to utilize it. For example, she couldn’t receive or make a call, and the home screen would turn off within fifteen seconds. Although using a touch screen phone is second nature for me, it was a real challenge for Daniela and I could sense her disappointment.
However, after repeating the steps to her, making her practice many times, and writing out some instructions, Daniela walked out knowing how to use a phone that she thought she would never be able to utilize. She learned the basics and even learned how to take pictures using the camera. I’ll never forget this visit from Daniela because it reminded me of how there are certain things taken for granted, yet are real challenges for others.
Taller de José is located within a vulnerable population; however as a compañera, I truly believe that Taller de José is a safe place that makes sure that anybody who walks through our doors feels welcomed and supported as they face and overcome challenges.
*Names and details have been changed to protect client identity.