Stuck pigeons.

Today was my last day at Overby – Sheppard. I was on the shuttle on my way there when I saw a mural paiting really close to Overby – Sheppard. It was huge and colorful, grey and pinks and purples were the most predominant colors. It was pigeon with outstretched wings on a human hand, the pigeon had a chain in his leg and the chain was tied to the human wrist. The hand was open inviting the bird to fly. I thought about my kids in Overby – Sheppard. I kind of imagine their world like that, they are in school getting education, being invited to succeed, but most of them won’t be able to cut the chain, they will be tied in the same atmosphere. Not because they don’t have the skills to do it, not because someone is pushing them away, but because they are chained to an specific social status. It made me incredible sad. I felt like the human on that mural, I’m open my hands and trying to give them everything they need to succeed but just my existence and the way I live is what somehow got them chained.

It was a very good day at Miss B classroom kids were acting real good and everyone were focused on their own tasks. I tried to spend as much time as I could on little K, I’m going to miss him so much. I didn’t say anything to the kids, just to K. I told him that I was going home because I my mom and my dad missed me so much. He said that he understand that he would like my parents not to miss me. He give him a little Richmond Spiders Basketball keychain because he always talk about it. I gave the rest of the class chocolate cookies but I didn’t told them that I wasn’t going back. I don’t know yet if I did it like that because of them or because of me. I just don’t like goodbyes. When we were walking to lunchtime, K ran and gave the most amazing hug, we didn’t say anything but we both knew it was our goodbye.

Miss B thank me for eveything and of course I said goodbye to her and thank her for everything. She was disspointed because she thought I was coming back next semester, I am not.

I learned a lot of stuff in Overby Sheppard, I learn a lot from the kids, from the environment, from the teachers. But to be completely honest I don’t feel like they get to learn from me as much. I had so much to offer but the organization of the volunteers in Overby – Sheppard is not as organized and I think the value of the volunteers is a little bit wasted. I also think that the link between this class and the CBL should be more intertwined, to be able to absorb more. To be able to give more .

I’d like to share this, during my voluteering in Overby – Sheppard and specifically in our last class, I noticed a huge difference between the policies here and the policies there. Overby – Sheppard complains about the walls and about getting the technology for register the visitors and volunteers. Last class we were talking about how the housing policies have a huge problem with the community when it comes to how the project would look like and stuff. I just keep thinking about how it is in Mexico, we don’t have the problems on how the walls are in poor schools, we have the problem that there is not enough poor schools, almost 20% of the children in Mexico don’t get to go to school. They would be more than happy to use Oberby – Sheppard building, they would consider it luxury. The same comes with the housing projects, there’s not such issue as how the housed would look like because they have no houses, they live in cardboxes and aluminium roofs. I’m not saying that is less important here, I just wish that some day our problems could be like these,  I’m just saying that the details on a problem reflect how the quality of life in each country is.

I am so grateful for this class. And I like being able to share my feelings.

Big thanks Dr .Erkulwater, and thank you all girls for everything. You know you will always have a place to stay in Mexico and tourguide to my own “Highland Park”.

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2 thoughts on “Stuck pigeons.

  1. I’ve been thinking about your post, now from an intellectual point of view. Mexico and the US have similar levels of inequality (according to their GINI indexes), even though the standard of living is so high in the United States. I wonder if part of what makes the poverty in the US so tragic is the fact that it is such a rich nation; there’s so much wealth, so many resources, and yet so little done for those at the bottom. That’s a different context for poverty than in Mexico.

    BTW, there’s a recent book out by Kathryn Edin called TWO DOLLARS A DAY. It’s an ethnographic study of the poor, showing what people go through to get by on little. The title strikes me because it is the kind of phrase one sees in documentaries of poverty in the developing world.

    We’ve talked in class about the fact that Highland Park is not the worse neighborhood in Richmond. Seen from there perspective of TWO DOLLARS A DAY, the residents of Highland Park are by far not the worst off residents in Richmond…and Richmond isn’t even the worst off city in the United States. To me (my own personal opinion and analysis now), Highland Park isn’t a “poor” neighborhood; it’s a typical African-American working class one, which (per Mary Pattillo’s argument) tend to be poorer than white working class neighborhoods.

    I appreciate the way in you talk about how poverty is experienced differently in different countries. It’s worth keeping in mind, and considering how poverty in a wealthy country is different than poverty in a poor country. Thanks.

  2. I 💜 your reflections on the mural and K, and I especially 💜 your perspective on poverty and Highland Park this semester!

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