In order to improve our responsiveness to the expanding market for intelligent, prepared people, we have embarked on two wonderful initiatives: Staff World Services takes our just-in-time staffing concept to the professional world of administrative, technical and executive placement. Additionally, this year we hired two of the industry’s leading sales professionals to help us expand our services throughout the Central Valley and into the Bay Area. I look forward to sharing with you the challenges and the promise of a healthier and more prosperous community in 2013. May you have a wonderful, fulfilling holiday, and please, let’s stay connected, there’s surely more news to share with you next year!
Last month, I had the pleasure and sincerely wonderful experience of spending time with my daughter Paloma and her graduating class of The Met high school seniors in the city of Managua, Nicaragua. Under the auspices of ATRAVES, a Nicaraguan based non-denominational human service organization, I chaperoned 9 young people ranging from 17 to 20 years of age during a work-filled week of fun, sweat, great fellowship and learning on top of more learning.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in our hemisphere and has suffered greatly for over 70 years during wars, civil wars, economic collapse, and natural disasters. Its capital city, Managua, was virtually leveled during a gigantic earthquake in 1972, which displaced two thirds of the city’s residents.
We were hosted in private homes in the city, where I made fast friends with Esteban and his lovely wife and two children. Esteban is a public health doctor, and unbelievably they manage to survive on $250 per month in take home pay! Although the home lacked air conditioning, I was quite comfortable in my private bed and bathroom, although, the evening’s heat and the insects did manage to interrupt sleep on more than a few nights.
Our work assignments were assisting with curriculum and activities at the school and health clinic located in the Camilo Ortega neighborhood, one of the poorest hillside Managuan neighborhoods that are under constant threat of mudslides and crime. In the “clinica” we worked alongside medical students from Tufts University to inventory the pharmacy, input statistical health information into a general database, paint all the walls from end to end, and provide overall assistance with health screenings. I took personal joy in sourcing some stepping stones that we installed in front of the tramped down muddy entrance of the clinic that prevented so much dirt from entering the place.
Down the hill and outside, in the vivero, (Nursery), we cleared a huge amount of trash and debris from our new growing zone, and planted tree nuts into sapling bags for reforestation projects that were ongoing throughout the hillsides. During work, we discovered lizards, furry, multi-segmented tropical insects, a HUGE adolescent tarantula, and birds of every shape, color and sound.
At the school, we all assisted with designing and delivering curriculum and fun sports and arts and craft activities for the ”Club de Ninos” which was a special summer program for some 45 children who call this school their home. Along the way, we had home-made cooked lunch every day that was absolutely delicious, and we watched as they taught sewing and dance classes and public health to the woman of this barrio.
My time in Nicaragua I will never forget, and the people we interacted with were warm, appreciative and very dedicated to uplifting their pueblo. I will return soon someday, because they all asked me to help them build a “Parque Aquatico” – a water park no less!
To learn more about Atraves, and perhaps sign up to volunteer your time for these wonderful people and this wonderful organization, kindly visit their website at www.atraves.org
The National Council held their annual membership meeting on Thursday May 31 to June 1, in the city of Madison, WI. Held among the backdrop of a contentious gubernatorial battle between Wisconsin voters over the rights of state employees to collectively bargain, the interpreter fest, was, as always, an enjoyable, fact-filled event that focused on providing training tools for those who prepare behavioral health interpreters to tackle the difficult mental health assignment.
A state by state update was provided by membership, a new executive leadership team was installed, and many meet and greets, were arranged between interpreters, interpreter administrators, consultants, and trainers from across the country. The website’s metrics were applauded, as well as the diverse membership of the organization from across the country and the world.
Interpreter and Advocate of the year were selected during the now famous Interpretini event. Each committee gave a report about membership, training, Standards of Training, and other elements. Participants broke up into sub groups to discuss topics as varied as starting an interpreting department, managing stress resulting for interpreting for victims and refugees escaping violence in other countries.
A full suite of vendors displayed their products and services, with a large contingent of remote video interpreting vendors.