Today was our last day of volunteering in Flint. We delivered barrels to homes, meeting more residents of the city, and we cleaned up one of the first gardens planted in Flint.
As we were delivering the barrels, I met a few citizens. They gave magnificent interviews, speaking of their hardships but also their positive minds and outlook on their situation. As I was interacting through the morning with these people, I came to find that many wanted to share their story and show that the news reports only express one side of their situation, the depressing, glass-half-empty side. Today, I got to experience the full story. Yes, there are major issues in the city, but everyone is trying their hardest to make the best of the situation. They all got back on their feet, ready to take charge of their community.
In the garden, we took out as many weeds as we could, from the grass to the flower beds, and beautified a section of it with the materials already in the garden. Although it started to get pretty hot, we kept each other’s morale up by telling jokes, singing songs, and talking about how beautiful the outcome would be. Although we didn’t achieve the picture perfect image in our mind, we made do with what we had- garden tools, tires, and an endless supply of rocks. As we uncovered this beauty of Flint, I found that the garden is very similar to the city. At first, it looks damaged and dead, but as you dig through the layers, you find the diamonds in the rough- the citizens of Flint.
I learned so much today, especially from the residents that I spoke to. They taught me to keep my head up and stay positive, no matter how bad my situation might be. In murky waters, keep your mind clear.
– Alekya Lingamaneni