NOT lost in translation in Peru

NOT lost in translation in Peru

Thankfully, we are in very good hands with translation services, literally, with the help of an army of young adults who are part of Church of Latter Day Saints’ (LDS) missionary service team.


Their neon yellow vests stationed throughout our clinic say, “Manos Mormonas Que Ayudan,” which means “Mormon Helping Hands.”

They’re extremely bright, mature, friendly and helpful—an impressive service corps indeed. Our success relies on them. Without them, most of our team wouldn’t be able to provide the thorough eye care experience. We do have several team members who speak Spanish, but they can’t be everywhere and that our clinic team is stationed as part of our patients’ process, which flows from one room to the next.

About LDS--our translators in Lima

The LDS missionaries here range from about 18-23 years old, and are here in Lima, Peru on their LDS 18 month to two-year missionary service requirement.  Each day more than two dozen LDS missionaries show up and spend the entire day with us. They’re all from the U.S.—most of them from Utah, but some I met are from Colorado, California, Idaho and Texas.  It’s impressive to learn that most of them didn’t speak any Spanish when they came here, or maybe they took a year or two in high school, but they all quickly became fluent within months of moving here (lucky us!).

In addition to the yellow vests, the men wear a white shirt and tie, and the women wear nice skirts and blouses. They all wear the LDS name tags emblazoned with “Elder” and last name for men or “Hermana” and last name for the women.  They normally wear these name tags when traveling throughout the Lima neighborhoods to speak with residents and do their missionary work for the Church of LDS.  

Hermana Lawrence (“Sister Lawrence”)

I’ve been chatting with them and watching them translate at the different stations throughout the week. It’s been a real blessing to have them by our side, so I decided to sit down with Hermana Lawrence to watch her work and learn more about her.

Sister Lawrence is 20 years old. She’s a warm and vibrant personality—the type who’s never met a stranger. She has a good sense of humor, a great laugh and a raspy voice that’s quite entrancing when she’s translating for us. Her Spanish is clear and flawless, and her manner sincere. She not only clearly translates medical questions and technical information between the doctors, team members and patients, she’s also quick to help a patient sit down, stand up or move to the next station. It’s just second nature for her, and I’ve seen many of the other LDS translators do the same.

Born and raised in South Jordan, Utah, Hermana Lawrence has been in Peru for six months so she still has another year to go in her missionary assignment. She is one of about 250 LDS missionaries stationed in Lima at any given time.

When I asked her about her time with our team so far this week, she responded with an enthusiastic  “I love it!” She said “it’s one thing to get to visit in a tourist area, but it’s another thing to really get to live with the people, to sit down with them and really get to know them.

When Hermana Lawrence returns to Utah she plans to finish her degree at BYU (she graduated early from high school and has already taken two years of classes at BYU.) She plans to get her business degree with a concentration in marketing and commercial music so that she can pursue what she called social innovation programs and become a professional “inspirational singer”.

A piano player and singer, she’s already got a solid start toward her dream by creating with her mom  the Daddy Come Home Foundation in Utah, aiding families of fallen soldiers.  She sings at fundraising events for the foundation and she and her mom recorded a CD with profits going to the foundation.  When she’s not making music for the foundation, she’s working with music industry executives, government officials and the National Guard outreach program to find grants and donations for the foundation. She hopes her marketing and commercial music degree will someday help her take her endeavors to a whole new level.  Hermana Lawrence also started an anti-bullying group with her mom just before coming to Peru, and plans to pick that up again when she returns.

I think the people of Lima are extremely fortunate to have the helping hands of Hermana Lawrence and all her compassionate, dedicated LDS companions here.  One thing is for sure, OneSight is so fortunate to have the help of these young adults so we’re never lost in translation in Peru.

Pubblicato il 07 Nov 2014