Imagine growing up in a land where war conflict and racism exploded in front of you every day. This is what life was like for Ruba, a Jerusalem born Palestinian. Ruba grew up in a world of privilege and injustice. Because of her birth place, she had the right to work and travel to any part of Israel. But Arab Muslims just like Ruba, who were born in Gaza or the West Bank, had major restrictions on any form of travel, let alone receiving essential supplies like water and food.
After working for a time as a school teacher, Ruba grew frustrated with the injustice surrounding her, and decided to move to America. She arrived in Oregon and became an interpreter.
Her first appointment at a hospital was with three specialist doctors, an older gentlemen (the patient) and his daughter. Though initially intimidated, Ruba was moved when mid-session the patient kissed her on the forehead, a token of appreciation. “I left the appointment elated,” she shares with a smile.
From that point on, Ruba saw the value in using her privilege of speaking English and Arabic to do something good for others. She attended an OHCIA Health Care Interpreter Training, and felt inspired by the focus on the ‘human factor’ and cultural sensitivity. Now an interpreter for over six months, she continues to hope for racial equality, from the doctor’s office in Portland to the streets of the West Bank.