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Myrtle Beach Sun-News

Language Efforts Aim To Aid Communication


20 January 2005
Copyright © 2005 Myrtle Beach Sun-News. All rights reserved.

With the influx of Spanish-speaking people into our Lowcountry community, have you had the urge to learn how to communicate with them?

Well, I have - and I've found that my high school Spanish of the mid 1940s could not help me speak to Hispanic workers. Yo te amo (English translation: I love you) is not the way to tell a landscape crew member to turn off his mowing machine. Whoa!

So recently, meeting Min Alexander, who moved here five years ago and who has recently founded Language Links, revitalized my desire to learn a few Spanish expressions. Como esta? (English: How are you?) seemed to be a good way to begin.

Min and I met for lunch at the Litchfield Country Club where Raquel Martinez Hernandez is a server who speaks very little English.

Min and she had a wonderful chat; however, I cannot tell you a word they said.

Min, a native of Puerto Rico, is founder of Latinoamericanos en Accion (Latino Americans in Action), the only Hispanic community-based organization in Horry County. She served as the first president and later as executive director from 2001-04.

Wherever Min has lived, she has taken action to reach out to the Hispanic community. She has a master's degree in social services from Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia and serves on the boards of the Community Coalition of Horry County, Little River Medical Center and the Small Business Development Center.

Forming Language Links is another way of reaching the Hispanic community here in the Lowcountry. Her translation and interpretation services for the county system have tremendously benefited judges, lawyers and clients since she began the service in March.

Her sparkle and vitality make the spoken Spanish language sound like music.

She and her husband, Dr. Raymond Alexander, a retired obstetrics-gynecology internist, live in Wachesaw East. They settled here to be near their ob-gyn physician-daughter, Dr. Karyn Markley, at Grand Strand Hospital. Prior to moving here, the Alexanders lived in several towns to decide where to retire.

In Spartanburg, Min was a counselor at Wofford College. She has served on other college boards around the country and as director on the Governor's Hispanic Council in Pennsylvania. The day after our lunch together, she flew to Philadelphia to receive an award for her services in Hispanic policies on the governor's council in Pennsylvania from 1979-86.

Her Language Links information card reads: "Language barrier limiting your communication efforts? Stay in touch with our trained interpreters and translators. English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Korean and sign languages available."

You can reach Min Alexander at 602-8234. Buenos dias, amigos! Note: As you can see, my signature photo to this column has returned this week. Last week, the North Myrtle Beach columnist head shot was used! Oops and goodness gracious!


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