by Susannah Koch
The last time that I blogged I was just getting started at Provena and now I have helped with many things, including the Latino health fair! La campaña de salud was set up by a group of M1 medical students from the UIC School of medicine. It was held at the church behind Provena on Sunday, April 15th after the Spanish church service at 1pm. Provena and the language services department was asked to help only two weeks before the day of the health fair so we had a lot of things to do in a short period of time.
Our main task, other than actually assisting with translating the day of the fair, was to translate a lot of information and brochures about the facilities that Provena has to offer. The flyers that I had to translate were difficult because so much of it was medical vocabulary and trademarked procedures and techniques that cannot be translated into another language. It took me some time to finish it and then Alejandra, Shannon (another volunteer) and I went over the translated materials in order to condense them into a smaller brochure. It was hard seeing large chucks of the information that I had spent hours translating crossed out and not used, but it was good practice! Shannon and Vince took on a lot of the work for the health fair and everything turned out really well and we were able to distribute a lot of information to the community.
The day of the health fair I arrived at the church at 1pm and could not find Shannon or any of the other volunteers. There was a lot going on inside the building because the M1 students were setting everything up and trying to get organized. Because it was the first year this was done, there were a lot of kinks in the process and many places for improvement, but overall their dedication really impressed me. Eventually everyone else arrived and we set up our table near the clinic area with all of the brochures we had translated. As I said before, there were kinks in the organization of the health fair because the man in charge needed a lot of translators (the Provena interns) all over the fair. There were only five of us available to help that day and therefore not enough to go around. I was assigned the task of helping welcome people to the fair, answering general questions, and explaining the sheet every attendee received upon entrance. There were four main stations they could visit: the vitals clinic, diabetes booth, nutrition booth, and heart health booth and when they went to each one they received a stamp on their sheet and if they got all four they could get a free meal at the end of the fair. In addition to theses booths there were many organizations present to talk about their services, face-painting and games for the children, and informational talks about various health topics.
I was nervous at the beginning of the day because there were a lot of people and not enough time to explain to everyone. Eventually I got the hang of if and actually spent some downtime talking to man named Martin. He took the opportunity practice his English and I spoke in Spanish. I learned that he had first moved from central Mexico to California, then to Texas and then to Illinois, each time in search of a job. He told me that out of the three he still loved and missed California the most, but that at least his family was with him in Illinois. He was such a sweet man with a huge smile and was so thankful for our help and kindness. I really enjoyed using my Spanish to help people on Sunday, it was a welcomed change of pace from translating documents!!