“The wagons and buggies would come to and enter these [mudholes], the horses, who had had easy pulling on the solid gravel, would have to strain and try with all their might to get the wagon through the mudhole – but when they strained and tried long enough and hard enough the wagon would eventually come through and once again the horses and wagon would be on solid gravel road and the pull would become easy again, and the future bright.”
I feel that this quote is particularly relevant to working in Detroit and not just because of the prevalence of potholes. It doesn’t matter how tough the road is at this particular point in time, if you push hard enough, you will get to your destination, which is absolutely worth it. I have seen this time and time again in my job these past four weeks; there will be instances where it is difficult to get in touch with people, the local policies of the city may seem broken and confusing, the projects themselves may appear far too daunting for such a small group to take on. But time and time again my coworkers are not fazed and they continue to persevere and push forward. And a crucial aspect of perseverance is embedded in work ethic.
Although hometown pride is not necessarily a lesson in itself, I argue that taking pride in what you do and who you are is, and all of the people that I am talking about in the city ARE Detroit. Here is a group of people who have chosen to live in a city that has largely been written off, yet they don’t back away. The people who work in the city want to see Detroit succeed to such a degree that it is infectious. As the fruits of their labors begin to stream in I have learned the importance of taking pride in what you do and where you live. Although, I don’t consider myself a resident of Detroit, I am a resident of the great state of Michigan and I couldn’t be more delighted.
However, time and tide wait for no man. We’ve already turned the corner and are heading into our last four weeks of DukeEngage- Detroit. There is still so much that I want to learn and do in this city. As an easy goal, I hope to get a better sense of direction. I want to be able confidently give passersby directions to where they are going. Not only do I want to get a better sense of the city, but I also want to gain a greater understanding of the people in Detroit. Hopefully, I will be having more coffee-shop conversations in the coming weeks, with coworkers and mentors alike. I really hope to gain the broadest possible perspective on what is going on in Detroit. I want to get all the different opinions on what the city can do to improve life for the citizens and what the citizens can do to improve life in the city. Detroit has a multi-faceted future: the future of business, the future of the community organizations and the future of the citizens. All of these factors will contribute to how Detroit develops and I want to get out and learn about all of these different aspects. In order to do this to the best of my ability I hope to be out and about as much as possible. This requires doing activities such as the slow roll, an event where thousands of people get together and bike around the city. It is a perfect way to get a directional sense of the city in addition to meeting very interesting people along the way. It will be events like these that will allow me to capitalize on my experience in Detroit. It’s just a matter of getting out the door.
"And they and their passengers would indeed come to the end of the road and get to where they were going."
- Great Great Grandpa Bennett