I don't usually go off the creativity path in this blog, but this is firmly on my mind and I am hoping that writing about it will help me process some of it.
For the next 7-8 months, I will be working on a project that will give beds and bedroom makeovers to some kids in Central Detroit. So, on Saturday, I took a tour of inner city Detroit, thinking I should find out a little about the area and the culture.
The bedroom project will take place in the 48202 zip code. That zip code is the poorest one in the United States. Not just Michigan, but all of America. It is like a third world country. Unemployment is 66%. High school graduation rate is 15%. The first grade class at the elementary school has 69 kids in it. Little kids have to walk 4 miles to school and then sit on the floor on a mat all day with 68 other kids....while being hungry, after sleeping on the floor with a blanket the night before.
Some families live without furniture, their children have never slept in a bed. Some homes have no electricity or running water. I saw several with broken windows and blankets stuffed in the holes. Think about having no electricity and trying to heat your home with the gas burners on the stove.
We did a poverty assimilation exercise. We were given $1000 for our family of 6, to last a month. We priced food, transportation, clothes, and housing. We looked for jobs. It was impossible to even take care of the basics for a family. And then we were told they gave us a cushion and most families have more like $500 a month.
Now I am thinking about our lifestyle here in the suburbs. How many times have I pulled into McDonald's for a $1 ice tea? And how much could I have to buy food for someone if I had not done that for a year? And it just goes on and on from there. Sigh.
Yes, we have been educated and worked for what we have. But, don't we have so much that is not necessary? And we are sitting over here in the burbs with our miracle cell phones and computers and closets and pantries full, driving to get more stuff in our new gas guzzling cars? And not even thinking about the people over in 48202?
See? So much to process. It puts reality to loving your neighbor as yourself.
Hoping my Vitamin C will work here.
Posted by Kim at 10:13 AM