2S2 is a regular meet-up where expats, and anyone, can get together, build and strengthen connections, learn about Korea and integrate in Korean society. We hope that 2S2 will help expats in Korea participate more meaningfully in the country we share with Korean natives, and that we can have a better experience of Korea by doing so.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Special 2S2: Bilingual Korean/English speaker needed

Hey there.
You've probably heard about this guy: There's a Korean student, about 19 years old, who's suffering from lymphoma, a kind of blood cancer. There's a page for him on Facebook. Basically, he has B- blood, which is extremely rare in Korea, and also a bad blood type to get sick with, because it can only receive from O- (in certain cases) and other B- types. There's been a push to get some help for him, and because so few Koreans have B- blood, word has been circulating among the expat community.

Now, on Saturday, for 2S2, I'd really like to bring a group down to the blood clinic to donate blood. If you have B- blood, especially, really, seriously think about coming out and helping out, because this kid is not doing well. Even if you don't, giving blood is a cool thing, and, frankly, a powerful symbolic action that projects a really positive image at a time when English teachers in particular are taking a beating.

(Arafat giving blood after 9/11 - the picture says it all. source)
I've located a blood donation clinic in Shinchon, and I even went down there today with a good friend to talk with the people. After a bit of talk, here's the score:

They don't usually take blood donations from foreigners, because of communication problems, concerns about where we (typically well-travelled folk) have been, and maybe also other... um... less scientific reasons, that aren't the focus of this post.

Now, we might be able to go down there and give blood on Saturday, but before we do, the lady we talked to gave me her phone number, and has asked me to have a bilingual friend contact her, to make sure she can explain the process in detail, and have that information accurately relayed to any would-be expat donors. She spent a lot of time talking about the correct process for donating blood... fair enough.

So, readers, here's where you can help: I really want this to happen, and I have a phone number, but not the language skill. Is there a reader out there who's fluent in Korean, and able to talk to this lady, and then explain the "process" to me, so that I can clearly pass that on to anyone else who needs to have it explained? I'd totally owe you a beer at the microbrew of your choice.

And that's our tentative 2S2 for Saturday: Meet at Anguk station Twosome Place (same time, same place, every month), go down to the donor clinic in Sinchon, and give blood... IF we can get the communication issues cleared up. This means that if you can talk to the lady tomorrow, I need you to send me a message tonight, with your phone number, so that we can clear up her concerns about misunderstandings or improper adherence to due process.

Also, if any of my bilingual readers are free on Saturday afternoon, please accept this as a gentle nudge that your presence would help de-stress these poor, nervous nurses at the clinic. It would be hugely appreciated, even if you're not B-!

If you want to donate blood, here's the nitty gritty:
1. You need to have an Alien Registration Card. Bring it, and be ready to present it.
2. You need to have been in Korea for a year.
3. You need to be able to answer some questions about your medical history... this part was a bit murky, and this might be the deal-breaker which will decide if we can go ahead or not. The guy at the Seoul Global Center, while very helpful, was pretty sure that if you don't speak enough Korean to answer the medical history questions yourself, you wouldn't be able to donate; hopefully we'll learn a way that we still can tomorrow, even if we can't speak all the Korean. I'll keep you posted.

If this doesn't work out, we'll do something else for 2S2, probably involving really, really good food. But I hope we can make this work.

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