Monday, August 12, 2013

Community of Contradictions

Below is the photo I chose for my portion of the VCU-UKZN Photo Voice project. I titled it "Community of Contradictions". I'd like to share it because it is a succinct summary of how I view Kenneth Gardens as an outsider:
 Taken from a hilltop in upper Kenneth Gardens, this view shows the community juxtaposed with the city of Durban. Seeing Kenneth Gardens in a larger, more holistic context captures some of the contradictions I have seen and felt as an outsider in Kenneth Gardens. On one hand, the blanket drying on the wash line reminds me of the distinct vibrancy of the Kenneth Gardens community. Seeing neighbors chat in the communal laundry space as they go about their chores, playing with the children amongs old tire swings, and learning so much from our thoughtful, creative, and endlessly entertaining Brettonwood learners: all of these things tell me there is hope, resilience, and a sense of community togetherness among Kenneth Gardens residents. On the other hand, the dark shade that covers Kenneth Gardens in the foreground reminds me that we as outsiders have yet to see the community at night. I think of the issues of safetiness, alcohol, drugs, and decrepit, ill-maintained flats that some learners discuss in their photo narratives. I hope this picture encourages the Kenneth Garden residents, particularly its younger generation, to embrace the positive lessons they have learned growing up in this space while thinking beyond the boundaries of their community to suceed and achieve in the larger context of their lives.

I truly hope the Brettonwood learners gain as much from this project as possible. I know that we Global Bridges Scholars tried to mentor our leaners to the best of our abilities. To be honest, they made our jobs easy. They are all so very intelligent, articulate, and talented. Despite the challenges they face growing up in Kenneth Gardens, I have every confidence that each of them have the power to become leaders of their community and leaders in their own right, should they choose to do so. They have singlehandedly convinced me to consider working with adolescents in my OT career, something I had never given thought to before. I'm really going to miss them!
My awesome team of learners, Ntokozo and Lwazi 

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