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Navigating language barriers during a pandemic

Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 28, 2021

RED OAK, Iowa (KMTV) - Dealing with the pandemic is difficult for anyone, but if you live in the U.S. and don't speak English, it can be even harder.

Lupilla and Luis Ramos are immigrants from Mexico who live in Red Oak, Iowa. Both experienced fear due to the pandemic.

"At first I was kind of skeptical about the vaccine, I was scared, I was just scared, not for what I thought about, what I heard people talking about," Lupilla said.

The Ramos family also suffered immense losses.

"In December, from the 20th on, we got this infection in our family," Lupilla said. "I lost my sister, an older sister, two years older than me."

The emotional impact of the coronavirus was also too hard to bear.

"The saddest part for me, if somebody is sick, you can't visit your family and that hurts a lot. My sister died alone in a cold, dark room and my brother died in a clinic," Lupilla said.

Navigating this pandemic as immigrants who don't speak English also brings a lot of complications especially when it comes to getting the vaccine.

"You've got to find somebody who can help you, somebody who can interpret for you," Luis said.

Lupilla says it's easy to feel lost.

"I always told my husband living here feels like we're little children," Lupilla said.

Both want to shed light on the hardships of dealing with the pandemic when there is so little information in their native language.

"It would be nice if there was more help in Spanish, as far as getting the vaccine," Luis said.

Both Lupilla and Luis were able to get their vaccinations with the help of a translator.

For more resources on navigating the language barrier, Montgomery County Public Health offers services: MontgomeryCountyia.gov
(712) 623-4893

In Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska, Spanish speakers can contact Centro Latino in Council Bluffs:
www.sucentrolatino.com
(712) 256-6009

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