I mentioned before that my LDS bishop and stake president had asked if my wife and I would volunteer down at the United Way’s free health clinic once a week. We went last Tuesday, and I neglected to write about it.
The counselor in the stake presidency had said he would meet me there, but he was late, and by the time he showed up, I had been helping people fill out information sheets. Hardly any of the patients spoke English, so it was a good opportunity to practice my Spanish. The counselor stayed just long enough to make sure I was actually doing something, and then he left.
There were four or five other volunteer intepreters, all of whom were pre-med students at BYU. I felt pretty good that my Spanish was at least as good as theirs (and way better than one of them). After filling out the information sheets, we moved into the main clinic reception area. The information would be put into the computer, and then when a doctor was available, the patient’s name would be called. I spent some time filing and doing some restocking of supplies, but then I was asked to interpret for a couple of doctors. The one spoke Spanish marginally well, but he had trouble understanding the patients. So there I was explaining to him about a guy who had six or seven bowel movements a day and was feeling some generalized pain. Then I helped a pharmacist explain to a young woman about the medication she would be taking (they have a free pharmacy there, too), and she seemed genuinely grateful that I was able to interpret for her.
I also met a relative of mine who is deeply into Williams family genealogy, so that was a plus. But mostly, it felt good to help people who need help. The number of people who came in and the level of poverty at which they live was overwhelming to me. That we were able to help that many people in one evening felt really good. I know some people have criticized me for accepting this as a church-related assignment, but I don’t care. It’s good to do good.