This weekend my sisters came to visit. To give the context, I live in Ocean View, a township that is the worst area in the South Peninsula and where the majority of our LifeXchange guys stay. The Flats, where the worst of Ocean View live, is just around the corner. From my years working in the area and from the individuals that I’ve grown close to, I know the true stories that are true behind these walls. Stories of abuse, rape, murder, fatherlessness, and the home of criminals, drunkards, gangsters, drug merchants.. and that which I know is only a small part of what there is to tell.
I anticipated my sisters to be taken aback by the harsh reality of what they saw, by the obvious poverty, drugs and disease that hangs around The Flats like thick city smog. But the pain of these lives had been painted over in a fresh coat of crayfish pink; masking the scars of graffiti, of dirt, of dilapidation, covering up the deep turmoil of lives lost in injustice, and leaving only a hint of the slum that it really is. Looking out the car window of my Pocket Rocket, their response was, “oh, this place doesn’t look so bad!”