By Laura Camarata, summer intern
With school out and summer in full swing, the number of kids we see come in our doors with their parents has increased dramatically, enlivening our small office quite a bit. But before the end of the school year, I accompanied Claudia to court. As we made our way to the bus stop and eventually to the courthouse, I realized that Claudia was quite visually impaired, so much so that navigating an office space was difficult, and reading a piece of paper impossible. For the remainder of our accompaniment, I did my best to guide her with my voice and the occasional light touch, but to my slight dismay, was met with only mild success.
Claudia and I have gone on several other follow-up accompaniments together, and since summer is upon us, her young daughter Sofia has tagged along with us to the various office buildings and courthouses. To witness the love between this mother and child has truly been a gift to me and the other compañeras(os) who have had the privilege of working with them. Sofia, who isn’t more than 6 years old, takes it upon herself to guide her mother throughout the city. “Ahora, mamí,” she sing-songs happily when the traffic light has turned, signally we can cross the street safely. Now, Mommy. “Aquí, mamí,” she chirps to her mother when she has found a seat for her on the bus. Here, Mommy. During my first accompaniment with Claudia, where I was uncertain and a bit awkward, Sofia, in the subsequent ones, calmly and confidently took her mother by the hand and walked beside her, unfazed by courthouse security scanners or the ways of public transit. Not once did the girl seem anything but willing, patient, and full of love for her mother.
We here at Taller de José are constantly inspired by what we see in our clients, and Claudia’s perseverance and hopefulness in resolving her problems is no different. But perhaps we can all, too, stand in awe of what 6-year-old Sofia has shown us: with the hand of a child, or with one that is offered in a spirit of childlike acceptance, may just be the best way to accompany our clients – and all those around us – as we walk beside each other in life.
All stories are based on real clients at Taller de José. Names and images have been changed to protect client privacy.