Do you know how to ask, “What’s your household annual income,” in Somali or Spanish? Yeah, me neither. While my main responsibilities in this fellowship lie in the marketing and communications realm, I do however have plenty of opportunities to reach out and experience other areas within my organization. At times chunks of our staff are out at conferences or vacations, one morning I showed up to work and needed to help our clients register new government forms for the free produce distribution. I was thrown into this scary yet incredibly exciting morning talking and helping clients complete the new form.
This experience really tested my multitasking, language, patience, and communication skills. While I am bilingual in Spanish, there are just some terms you don’t come across in everyday conversation so I had to be a creative communicator. I also was constantly switching between the two languages which was such a fun challenge. Furthermore, there were some languages I didn’t speak or understood at all and had to be even more creative communicating directions to complete the form.
I vividly remember the frenzy atmosphere that occurred when people heard they had to fill out a new form before being able to get produce that day. We had a lot of individuals and families that needed to register so we set up multiple stations to go through everyone efficiently as possible. For a solid two hours streams of people came up to the table and I filed every single form. The speed and hectic environment painfully highlights food access injustices for Columbus residents. I also intimately experienced the beautiful and diverse populations of the South Side residents which made up for the depressing realization.