Thinking about this post made me very nostalgic. Because it is going to be written with the absolute vulnerability that it deserves. I have never been so honest and bare in my life. I am a very private person and yet I feel the need to claim where I come from.
The title I come from the ghetto seemed like the perfect fit for this post. I need to be honest about my beginning in order to see how far I have come and that the dream I dreamed for myself was not too big or impossible. I come from very humble beginnings. My life is still very simplistic. I was doing research about the Riverview Flats in Worcester, my hometown. All I can find was news about gang related violence. I remembered when I started at my current position, one of the fire fighters asked me, where did you live before Avian Park? And I remember I did not answer him at that point. For some reason I was apprehensive and I felt a bit put of by his smug tone, almost like he knew me or where he thought I came from. It seemed like he judged me.
Fast forward 4 years later… I am so proud of where I come from. It made me the person I am today. I come from humble beginnings. For some reason my grandparents could not afford their house anymore and had to go live in the flats. My grandfather was a welder. He became blind, because of an accident at work and he was declared disabled. My grandmother had to work hard to support her kids, even though she had a husband, he was unable to work. She had to take the lead. So one could say life happened. My grandmother was a strong woman, who worked hard to give her kids the best. They went to good schools and she even made sure they where all equipped with the best education or trade, so that they are able to provide for their families one day.
My mother built our house from the ground up, all by herself. She also worked very hard, in order for me to have the best schooling, clothes, a roof over my head and she made sure I fore filled my dream of going to university.
When I think about it now, both of the places I come from can be seen as the Ghetto. Avian Park was a very quiet and seemed like it was going to be one of the best areas to live in, but that soon changed in 2004. A part of it became a squatter camp and it all went downhill from there. The value of the place and houses is decreasing by the day.
One can almost say I moved from one ghetto to the next. I do not see it that way anymore. People tend to judge others, in order to make themselves feel inferior or place more worth on themselves because of where they come from or live. They judge you accordingly, if there is a connotation connected to an area. I am so proud to say I come from “Tha Ghetto.” The ghetto made me who I am today. It is a place where I learned to have respect for each and every human being, respect for what I had, respect for my elders, respect for a good education, to appreciate when having the privileged to see amazing places, to appreciate the fact that I equipped myself so that my kids will have even better than what I had and last but not least to value the fact that all the negative connotations other people placed on me did not dim my light and scared me into believing I can’t do something I set my mind to.
I live, breath and thrive on this earth. I am thankful for where I come from. I could have been born in Somalia, Rwanda, The Congo and the list goes on. But I was fortunate enough to be born in a land of opportunity. A land where no dream is ever too big.