About the artist:
Sara Kohrt is a researcher, analyzing dialogues between patients and providers to identify communication gaps, and serves as the visuals editor for Pulse. She and her son live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.
About the artwork:
“I was attending a weekend workshop through the narrative-medicine program at Columbia University, and we were given an assignment to produce an image or creative work on the theme of care. I was walking in the neighborhood where I was staying and took a wrong turn, but ended up going in the right direction to discover this sign outside of a West Village townhome. The sign reads, If we all do one random act of kindness daily we just might set the world in the right direction.”
“There was a time [in Mexico] that it didn’t rain and there wasn’t a lot to eat in the country. There were no crops. People started to say that the Americans stopped the clouds so it wouldn’t rain, because they are very powerful. I said, I’m going to meet these Americans — I’m going to go to the U.S. I’m going to see who detained the clouds and how they detained them. I was about 15.”
“[Hubo] un tiempo que no llovía y no había mucho que comer en el campo. No hubo cosechas. Empezaron a contar los señores que los Americanos detuvieron las nubes para que no lloviera porque son muy poderosos. Dije, voy a conocer los Estados Unidos. Voy a ver quienes son los que detienen las nubes, como las detienen. Tenía como 15 años.”
“I tell [my children], you don’t have to do anything for me, just go to school and do what you have to do. On the weekend I take them to the mosque, because jeu can learn Arabic and all that. And I just want them to study. That’s all. That’s the main thing. If you want to be someone tomorrow, you have to work hard right now.
I want them to be better than me. I’m here, stuck. I cannot do the work that I want to do because I don’t have the degree for it, so I want them to go to school and not struggle the way I’m struggling right now.”
Fatima, age 32, immigrated from Guinea in 2002
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 will be featured in …
“The [immigration officer] said, ‘Well, you’re applying for your citizenship. I’m just going to ask you a few questions.’ She had a stack of books like this on her desk for me. She asked me, ‘Name one of the longest rivers.’ And I said the Missouri River. She said, ‘Who votes for the president?’ I said, ‘Citizens 18 and older,’ like we were having a little chat. And she said, ‘Oh you planned for this! You know it all!’ I said, ‘Yes ma’am.’ And she said to me, ‘This is your day. You pass.’ And I started to cry.”
Annabelle, age 61, immigrated from Jamaica to Canada in 1992 and from Canada to the U.S. in 2003
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 will be featured in a later issue of …
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 healthy.
Bronx, New York
About this Encounter:
I take twenty-one pills at night before I go to bed. In some ways, I think of myself as a pharmacy, I take so many medications.
About the Encounters Project:
This past summer, Pulse’s Visuals Editor collaborated with two medical students from Albert Einstein College of Medicine to launch a project that will add more patient voices to Pulse. Together with Sara Kohrt, students Kristen Lee and Erin McCoy photographed and interviewed patients who were waiting to see their doctors at a Bronx family health center. Patients were asked to talk about their healthcare experiences, to share stories about their lives outside the clinic walls and to reflect on how these two worlds affect each other.