Preface
The mind-is not the heart.
I
may yet live, as
I
know others live,
To wish
in
vain to let go with the mind-
Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me
That I need learn to let go with the heart.
-Robert Frost
My narrative reflects the interaction between my life as a woman
physician and the lives of the people with whom I worked. Both
in South Africa and America the communities absorbing my
attention were poverty-stricken-most were black-and I por-
tray the result of discriminatory forces on the health of these
people. This interrelationship had a profound effect on me as a
doctor and a woman, and I tell a good deal about my history,
my feelings, and the growth of my awareness. Two social con-
texts, therefore, are important to my story-mine and that of
the communities with which I worked-and I begin with my
own development.
My background, place of birth, and upbringing, as well as my
ongoing work experiences, influenced my outlook on my fellow
countrymen and determined how I would see people, what jobs
I would undertake and why, what I would learn from those I
served, and how I would decide the proper nature of my role
as physician. My book is a personal account, a case history, of
the relationships between a particular doctor and the specific
people she served. While I make no pretense of writing an
academic exposition on social medicine, or a comparative history
of the "two societies that are widely regarded as being the most
pervasively racist in the world, South Africa and the United
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