The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 54

EKTA BONSAL

ways, detrimental for Latino causes. As a
member of a minority, it is difficult to break
through and be more effective in local politics,
even when belonging to progressive groups."
Despite the obstacles, says Puyana, "I feel I
obtained the American dream, since I always
dreamed of having my own organization and I
accomplished it here in the U.S. Being involved
in local and state level politics has been an
experience from which I've learned how the
system works. I participated with Gov. Mark
Warner during the creation of the first Virginia
Latino Advisory Board, and for eight years I
served on this board for Gov. Tim Kaine."
Kaine and Warner are both U.S. Senators now.
She remains on several local boards of
directors and worked for a decade for the
Mexican Consulate in Washington, bringing
the first mobile consulate to Roanoke in 2004.
Like so many parents, she says, "My
biggest accomplishment is being a mother
for the last nine years."

EKTA BONSAL is an infectious disease
specialist at Carilion who came to the
U.S. in 2000 for its medical educational
excellence. She arrived with two suitcases
and not much more.
"Coming to United States all alone was

54

MARCH/APRIL 2020

CELESTE DELGADO-LIBRERO

"Thankfully there were so many
people around with kind hearts and
humanity that made surviving the
first year possible..."
-EKTA BONSAL

not less than a rebirth," she says. "[It is an]
entirely new culture, new mindset, new
driving techniques and new system in every
single aspect of life. What was not new,
thankfully, was the human body and the
humanity. While I was learning medicine,
at same time I was dealing with daily
challenges of adapting to a new system like
getting Social Security card, driving license,
immigration system, etcetera and learning to
survive without my family around.
"They all were 8,000 miles away in India
and I missed them every day. Thankfully
there were so many people around with kind
hearts and humanity that made surviving
the first year possible, and I successfully
finished three years of my medical residency
and received Internal Medicine board
certification."
S h e c a m e t o t h e U. S. - i n i t i a l l y
Philadelphia-from a town in Northern

India because of the predominance of
patriarchy, where women were a secondary
consideration, she says. The difference she
found?
"It was literally East vs. West," she says.
"I started with a process, met people who
were open-hearted, learning at every step."
She bought a cell phone so she could stay
in close contact with her family. "I felt [the
separation] deeply," she says.
Her husband is Ritesh Kohli, a hospitalist
at Carilion Clinic, and they have two
children, 5 and 2. Much of her time (and her
husband's) at Carilion was spent driving to
and from Giles Memorial Hospital to work.
"I felt the toll" on the family, she says.
The family tries to return to India once a
year, but there is always the fear they won't
be able to get back into the U.S. Her sister
was denied a visa.
"There are so many hurdles and challenges"
in a dramatic move like hers, she says. But
"this is life ... Nothing in life is less than a
challenge. ... I think I'm happy. I am blessed
to call [Roanoke] home."

CELESTE DELGADO-LIBRERO, a native of
AndalucĂ­a, Spain, is an educator who
isn't working now. She has, however,
worked at Sweet Briar College, the

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The Roanoker - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - March/April 2020

The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Intro
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 3
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 4
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 5
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 6
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 7
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 8
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 9
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 10
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 11
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 12
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 13
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 14
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 15
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 16
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 17
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 18
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 19
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 20
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 21
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 22
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 23
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 24
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 25
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 26
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 27
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 28
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 29
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 30
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 31
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 32
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 33
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 34
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 35
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 36
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 37
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 38
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 39
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 40
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 41
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 42
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 43
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 44
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 45
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 46
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 47
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 48
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 49
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 50
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 51
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 52
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 53
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 54
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 55
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 56
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 57
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 58
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 59
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 60
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 61
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 62
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 63
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 64
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 65
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 66
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 67
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 68
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 69
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 70
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 71
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 72
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 73
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 74
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 75
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 76
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 77
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 78
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 79
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 80
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 81
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 82
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 83
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 88
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 89
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 90
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 91
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 92
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 93
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 94
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 95
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 96
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 97
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 98
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 99
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 100
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 101
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 102
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 103
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 104
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 105
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 106
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 107
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 108
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 110
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 111
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 112
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 113
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 114
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover3
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover4
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