Many organizations are busy trying to make the transition to life in Korea less hectic and difficult for foreigners. A religious sister of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul starts her column in the Peace Weekly with the words of our Lord: " At sunset, all who had people sick with a variety of diseases took them to [Jesus] and he laid his hand on each of them and cured them."
The sisters manage a
medical clinic free of charge for foreign workers. Workers from many
backgrounds and races come to the clinic asking for help, often using
the only language they know: their own. With joyless, weary faces they
find their way to the clinic. Each one in his
or her own way making known their ailment.
this thing here hurts." Pointing his finger to his stomach: "What's
wrong?" asks a man from Uzbekistan.
"It is not auntie, say, sister, sister." the sister added a new word to his vocabulary cheerfully.
a Chinese woman, asks if it's possible to be recycled. Sister tells her
the clinic is not a department of rehabilitation facility. The woman,
who works twelve hours a day, says that her shoulders hurt, and she came
Most of the foreigners who come to the clinic
are illegal foreigners who have no medical insurance, and when sick,
they can't go to a hospital. When there is strict enforcement of the
law, these workers are in serious trouble; as an illegal they can be
forced to leave the country. They often work long hours doing work most
Koreans would shun. The work is difficult and the pay poor, the sister
says, and their language skills are minimal. But there is little they
can do to redress the situation, the sister adds. Only if they are in
good health can they make a go of it.
listen to their complaints, the sister says, and prepare them for an
examination, taking blood pressure readings, examining blood, and giving
medicine. And at all times extending the hand of love to them, in
this lonely and cheerless place. When they call us auntie, she says,
there is no
problem. Hopefully, they will receive a little warmth and consolation
their encounter with us.