Detroit, Michigan- a city that had survived an insane amount of damage and despair became a city that I would never forget; one that I had fallen in love with.
Flint, MI- a small unheard of town prior to the infamous water crisis, which is still occurring to this day.
As seen in my video above, I had the opportunity to travel to both of these cities and volunteer with an organization that I had been a member of since my sophomore year of high school.
However, my video extremely glamorizes the trip: 12 friends and their mentors travel to Michigan to “volunteer”, but mainly go sightseeing and document that via video footage courtesy of my junior year self who only had a Twitter as a means of social media to post said content.
While yes, I was mesmerized by the architecture and commonly found street art within downtown Detroit, I had never actually considered getting footage of the actual volunteer work I had done, but rather making it seem like I didn’t do any work and just played videographer the entire trip.
But the beauty of looking back on this experience is that now that I’ve started blogging again, giving me the excuse to relive amazing memories and remind myself of the incredible stories that were told to me by the people of Michigan.
Detroit, probably one of the most well-known cities in the state, is more than its economical collapse. Despite its few rough years of regrowth, the people have kept their “can-do” attitude.
I don’t think there was ever a time in my trip that I had never felt inspired or empowered, whether I was in Detroit or Flint. From a business owner who employs homeless, abused, troubled women to create beautiful jewelry from the peeling spray paint off of Detroit’s famously tagged walls, to a lonesome Flintonian woman whom lived in between two abandoned houses (one had burned down in a fire and was never repaired nor demolished); Michigan should be known as the “Can-do”, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” state.
Although the majority of the trip consisted of urban gardening in Detroit rather than directly helping citizens, it was an enlightening experience nonetheless.
Constructing rain barrels as a means of providing clean water to the residents of Flint was an activity where I truly felt connected to the city.
Being able to deliver the barrels that we had made to the citizens was an incredible moment as well. Listening to the people of Flint, you could hear the anger, distrust and fear in their voices as they told their stories and their reactions to the Flint Water Crisis. But if you listened closely, you could hear the small cry of hope that everyone had managed to hold onto- that people were still out there willing to help them get through a time where local government had failed to do so.
I could probably write a small novel about the time that I had spent in Michigan…
Who knows? Maybe I will someday.
However for the sake of the insanely short human attention span, I guess I end this post by saying that if everyone had the “can-do” attitude I had witnessed in the people of Michigan, we could accomplish great things and help many others in the process.