Mansa Aholouvi fled her native Togo in 2005 amid the political unrest that followed the death of Africa’s longest-serving head of state. She came to the United States seeking freedom and a better life. However, like many other refugees forced to relocate to the West, Mansa did not speak English.
Mansa did not let the language barrier discourage her initially. Eager to find work and be productive, she enrolled in ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and attended religiously for two years. Eventually, she resigned to the fact that it was near-impossible for a 74-year old woman to learn a new language with no one to interpret to her native tongue. So she stopped going to classes.
Mansa’s troubles with ESL paled in comparison to what happened later. About a year ago, she fractured her wrist in a car accident and rushed to get medical treatment. Unable to communicate with the clinical staff, and unable to find a proficient interpreter, Mansa struggled to get adequate care and struggled to apply for medical benefits she was eligible for. She recalls that she would often cry in frustration during this time, thinking about the language barrier and what it had done to her life.
When ADC first heard about Mansa, the organization scheduled a meeting with her. Mansa explained her frustration with her inability to go about her daily life with an injured and swollen wrist. Worse still, many of her medical appointments were canceled last minute due to the lack of an interpreter.
ADC, Inc. proceeded to contacted BJC to inform them that ADC, Inc. offers translation services in most African languages. ADC, Inc. also reached out to Provision Home Care to enroll Mansa in-home health services. Now she has a medical professional treat her at home, three days a week, four hours a day.
ADC’s intervention has dramatically improved the quality of Mansa’s life. Mansa had been suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes, conditions she had never heard about before coming to the United States. With ADC’s intervention, her doctor visits have been going more smoothly. At home, she eats better as a result of the home health visits secured through ADC, Inc. Mansa’s life is still drastically different from how it would have been at home, where she would have been able to provide for herself selling artifacts. But, she is grateful to have procured the services of ADC, Inc., and marvels at how much happier she is with her life. She has more time now, she says, to spend some time with her kids, who offer her the hope of a better future for her family in the United States.
Update: BJC is currently working with ADC to draw up a contract for full medical interpreter services.