Through the distance of a journey taken on the road, there have been some enlightening wonders in the world, happening in everyday life as a part of a people’s normal routine.
This routine doesn’t have to be extraordinary, but capture the glimpse of what society has brought upon a specific class of people through challenges and struggles they must face.
There also a beauty that comes from observing an ordinary, as life happens all around.
Back in 1993, I traveled to Detroit with my aunt, and my grandmother to go to a convention for one of our church organizations. Following the convention, we took a sort of scenic root where we passed by the poorer regions of Detroit. I had never been exposed to the level of life I saw at that time. While driving by, I was amazed at the level of poverty there. The buildings were so run down they were barely livable. I remember asking my aunt, “Why would society allow such ruin to fester in the city like this? These are people living here, not animals. This place isn’t even fit enough for an animal to live in, let alone, people. Why doesn’t the city of Detroit do something more to help these people. Surely, there must be something that can be done, instead of just leaving these people to sit in the rot and filth of this neighborhood.”
My aunt responded by saying, “This is a poor neighborhood. Most people who have the money probably avoid coming down this way, if they can help it. It isn’t right, but there’s not much that can be done when folks turn a blind eye,” while concentrating on her driving.
“I feel for these people. They shouldn’t be living like this. I’ve never seen anything like this, not even in the poorest parts of Kalamazoo. Look, there is garbage all around. There’s a man laying on the ground covered up with a newspaper he took from the garbage can. There’s a woman searching for the garbage for food. There’s an elderly man struggling to walk down the street with all the litter on the ground. It sad, really. No, it’s heartbreaking,” I said while taking everything in with my eyes.I couldn’t get over how bad the poverty level was in the city of Detroit. The sight of those people and their neighborhood overwhelmed me with tears. I remember thinking to myself, I wish there were something I could do to help these people. But I don’t know where to start. To whom do I make the donation? We’re only passing through on our way home from a convention. There’s not much I’m able to do. I wish there was. I’m so distraught at the sight of this neighborhood that sits in turmoil.
I felt for the children, especially, who didn’t have warm clothes for the cold weather. It was fall, and quite cold. Some children and adults didn’t even have a warm coat to wear to keep them warm. Instead, they wore thin jackets. I couldn’t understand how the people of the neighborhood managed to survive on so little. Seeing all this mentioned in this article made me realize how small my problems were compared to what the people of the poorest part of Detroit went through on a daily and nightly basis.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015