Imagine you are rushed to the hospital as pain radiates through your chest. Doctors whirl around you, but you don’t know what’s happening because everyone is speaking a foreign language.
That’s what happened to farmworker Angelina Diaz-Ramirez, 50, after she had a heart attack in a Monterey County green bean field in 2012.
The foreman of her work crew took her to the main road and put her in an ambulance, alone. Diaz-Ramirez is an immigrant from Mexico, and while there were Spanish-speaking staff, she was still isolated by a language barrier.
That’s because Diaz-Ramirez, like a third of California farmworkers, speaks a language indigenous to southern Mexico. She doesn’t understand Spanish. Her language, Triqui, is as different from Spanish as Navajo is from English.
Read more: KQED News