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Seeing Immigrants: “I’m going to the U.S. I’m going to see who detailed the clouds and how they detained them.”

About the Seeing Immigrants Series: From the time she was a medical student, Joanna Sharpless has been collecting immigration stories to learn more about the struggles and celebrations of being an immigrant in America. For a social medicine project undertaken during residency, she combined excerpts from interviews with a half-dozen of her immigrant patients with photographs of these immigrants holding something of importance to them. Three of these photos and excerpts are presented here. More

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Seeing Immigrants: “I want them to be better than me. I’m here, stuck.”

About the Seeing Immigrants Series: From the time she was a medical student, Joanna Sharpless has been collecting immigration stories to learn more about the struggles and celebrations of being an immigrant in America. For a social medicine project undertaken during residency, she combined excerpts from interviews with a half-dozen of her immigrant patients with photographs of these immigrants holding something of importance to them. Three of these photos and excerpts are presented here. More

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Encounters: “I have been so blessed…”

I had my first baby when I was thirteen, and my mother died when I was thirteen. I’ve been through a lot in my life, but when my faith is not consistent, that’s when I start getting all those crazy thoughts, like “Oh, my life, my life…”

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Seeing Immigrants: “She said to me, ‘This is your day. You pass.’ And I started to cry.”

About the Seeing Immigrants Series: From the time she was a medical student, Joanna Sharpless has been collecting immigration stories to learn more about the struggles and celebrations of being an immigrant in America. For a social medicine project undertaken during residency, she combined excerpts from interviews with a half-dozen of her immigrant patients with photographs of these immigrants holding something of importance to them. Three of these photos and excerpts are presented here. More

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Encounters: “Who am I to tell someone facing disease how to feel?”

I’m caring for my sister, who’s very ill. When I feel like I’m coming up short, it kind of creates a depression for me. I’ve learned to establish boundaries for myself, because when people become ill like that, they become bitter and mean sometimes. And I’ve really, really, really had to struggle.

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Encounters: “You know…sometimes I don’t remember that I have it.”

Should I talk about the bad stories or the good stories? Okay, the bad part is hearing that something’s wrong with you. That burns me. I don’t want doctors bothering me–just leave me alone. I don’t know why I’m afraid of doctors. Sometimes I just don’t like to hear them talk. I just found myself going more to the doctor after I was diagnosed. Before, I didn’t have to go to the doctor. I was

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Encounters: “…you have to start all over again in the American system.”

I’m originally from Guyana. It’s a little country in South America, between Brazil and Venezuela. I’m from British Guyana, and we’re the only English-speaking country in that hemisphere. My whole family came from there together–my wife, my daughter and I. My daughter was around eight years old at the time. She loves it here now. She says she doesn’t want to go back. We came as legal residents, but now I’m a citizen.

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