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Uvaldo Ramirez had been living in New Jersey for nine years when he started to think about it: Why not move back to Guatemala?

All photos by Anna-Cat Brigida.


He crossed the border into the United States at age 13, moving in with relatives and taking a job as a dishwasher in New Jersey to earn money for his family back home.

But life in the States wasn't easy. Not only did he have to learn English, he also had to learn Spanish. He grew up in Cajolá, an indigenous community in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where residents speak Mam, a Mayan language.

Communication was only one obstacle. The bigger issue was that he never had legal immigration status, which meant he could be deported if anyone ever found out. Eventually, life in the U.S. just seemed too hard.

“I got tired of it and I felt lonely, so I returned to Guatemala," he said.

The return home wasn't without its challenges, though. He needed a job.

Luckily, he got a call from Willy Barreno, a friend and fellow Guatemalan who had been living in New York until 2007 but had also returned home. Willy offered him a position at Cafe RED, a cute little restaurant that was also an offshoot of his nonprofit organization, Sustainable Development for Guatemala (DesGua in Spanish). The cafe was in Quetzaltenango, the country's second-largest city and not far from Uvaldo's hometown.

A relaxed vibe on a Friday afternoon.

The position was on a volunteer basis, but it came with other benefits. Uvaldo could get business and management experience, a support system of other returning migrants, and a smooth reintegration into Guatemalan society. His wife's salary as a teacher was able to support them both for the time being, which made the arrangement possible.

Now working at the cafe, Uvaldo extols what he calls “the Guatemalan dream."

What is the Guatemalan dream? According to Uvaldo, it's the right to find a decent job and live a quality life without migrating to the U.S.

In the 2015 fiscal year, more than 13,500 Guatemalan minors — like Uvaldo was when he came to the U.S. — were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol while trying to cross the border. Another 15,000 were caught coming from El Salvador and Honduras. Many of those people are looking for jobs, hoping to escape violence, or trying to reconnect with relatives.

A person's new life in America can be rewarding — a chance to earn more, live in a safe place, or be with family — but it also means sacrifices.

Uvaldo at Cafe RED, also called La Red KAT (Cafe, Academics, and Store Network).

Cafe RED aims to help more Guatemalans succeed without having to start their life over somewhere else.

Willy Barreno had lived in the U.S. working at restaurants for 14 years, but he always felt his roots were in Guatemala.

Barreno on the job.

He decided to return in 2007 and use his knowledge of migration and restaurant work to launch Cafe RED. The mission: provide job opportunities and training to returning and potential migrants so they have the chance to stay in Guatemala.

In Spanish, “red" means network — and the name doesn't just signify that the place has Wi-Fi (although they have that, too). The cafe is a support system, a network of returning migrants and youth considering the journey north.

For six years, Uvaldo has been an administrator at the nonprofit, which really means he does a little bit of everything.

Since returning home, Uvaldo has not considered migrating again.

Hands-on experience.

He is closer to his family and culture, and he believes his work has a positive impact in Guatemala.

Willy has big hopes for Cafe RED. He started one cafe, but why can't it become a movement?

He has limited funding to open more cafes, but he hopes other Guatemalan business owners will follow his example and provide jobs to youth — giving them the option to stay.

So much of the immigration debate focuses on the impact of newcomers in the U.S.

But if we can understand what drives people to leave their home countries — and what they might need in order to stay — we might come up with ways to offer people more choices.

Some people, according to Barreno, would definitely prefer that. In his words:

“When we know our roots, we can be happy with ourselves."

A message in the cafe reads, "More love, please." Let's add jobs to that, too.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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