Growing up down the road in Southfield, my memories in Detroit are most memorable. A huge Nigerian community filled with family, friends, churches, and my parents’ careers. My dad owned businesses, my mother and father traveled daily to see their patients, going to Redeemed Church of Christ and many other churches to meet up with some of my best childhood friends, fresh meat pie from the African Markets (also running into all of my aunts and uncles at these markets and then deciding to pop open a bag of chin chin or plantain chips because I knew we were going to be there for a while), hair dressers (shout out to Mrs. Jenkins for my first Shirley Temple curls), trusted seamstresses with the finest African fabric for ankara, many sleepovers at aunts and uncles from Nigeria in their new homes, hanging at my God Brother’s house and our favorite Uncle Kola, walks around Belle Isle on my parents’ wedding anniversary, all in the amazing 17 years I spent in this beautiful city before moving off to college.
It’s all very different now, being older and more aware of your surroundings, more curiosity (Where did all the black people go? Where did all these white people come from? They LIVE HERE?? So Hard Rock Cafe isn’t the the spot any more? Where did all of these colorful chairs come from?) but completely grateful and ready for the next chapter. I dream of a Detroit that maintain’s it’s culture through all of the displacement of the black and brown people that make this community what it is, and all of its newcomers educate themselves instead appropriate (and stop asking me about “black names”, my hair/weave, who can say the N word, feminism and women’s marches when the disrespect for black women isn’t acknowledged, generalized race based questions because one black person cannot speak for the whole community, etc..).
I loved this open and friendly community as a kid. Recovery Park brought back that feeling I had as a nine year old, being in the city with my mom and volunteering my time with her patients. Being able to give back with whatever resources I had. Recovery Park’s resources and passions are bringing a change to the city and to the lives of many who volunteer and who reap the benefits of the volunteers’ work.Being one person but having the support of my host company GTB, I thought collaboration would be powerful. Its powerful but it takes time and rushing is sloppy.
Luckily, I was taught to not believe in the expiration of goals, but surpassing them. One year down of many goals met, many mistakes, new friends, old friends, dropping friends, traveling, great music and just life. It’s going to go on.