Patient Story: “Anabel”

Originally from the Dominican Republic, “Anabel” settled into her new community in Arlington by immediately enrolling in an English class. It only took her a few months to both meet the man she would eventually marry—a classmate recently arrived from Turkey who was fortuitously seated next to her—and find a job at Pentagon City Mall. A busy work schedule made it difficult for her to keep up her formal studies, but given her natural knack for languages, you’d never know it.

Following the birth of her youngest, Anabel was suffering from the painful symptoms of an umbilical hernia when she saw a pamphlet with information about Arlington Free Clinic posted on the bulletin board of her Arlington Mill apartment building. She was quickly referred by AFC for surgery at VHC Health and was back in action in no time, caring for her new baby and three older children.

When her youngest started school, Anabel began driving and grocery shopping through the various rideshare and delivery apps. She noticed that many of her Latinx passengers had difficulty maneuvering through life without the English skills she had honed over her two decades in this country. One day, she got the idea to print business cards offering translation services to passengers in need of help. Her first client was a man seeking a green card whose lawyer hadn’t shown up for his court hearing. It was just Anabel and her client in the courtroom— but they were successful! The experience of helping meet an important need in her community solidified this “side gig” as a true passion of hers—one that she looks forward to sharing with AFC someday as a volunteer!