A Very Constructive Time

Hello, my name is Ric Berkholtz. I am a junior at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. I am a Global Studies major with the Worlds in Dialogue concentration and a History minor. Today marks our third day of our Hilt group’s trip in Detroit, Michigan. The first part of our day was a visit to the famous Henry Ford Museum which was less that twenty minutes from the Lutheran St. Paul Church we were staying in.

We individually toured the museum for three hours. The museum is home to more than just cars, which Henry Ford is best known for. The museum contains old antiques from as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. An exhibit that caught my eye showcased old guns and tools from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Along with that exhibit, old stoves from the period were on display near the sections with furniture and farming equipment.

However, it also contains very significant artifacts and vehicles of historical context. Namely the cars that US presidents used when driven in their motorcades. The main car that caught my eye was the car that President Kennedy was in when he was assassinated in 1963. I found out that the car was eventually modified in 1964 so that future presidents would not suffer the same tragic fate as President Kennedy did. Those modifications included steel plating and better bullet proof windows.

After visiting the museum, we headed back to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to pick up our overnight bags and sleeping gear. However, .before moving in to our new place of residence, our group headed to the Hope House located in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit. There, we volunteered with helped Abdul and some of his neighbors and friends with shoveling and raking large piles of mulch. Those piles of mulch were originally going to be dumped into a landfill by the City of Detroit. Naim asked that the mulch be brought to the Hope House. To learn more about the Earthjustice Hope House, you can look at this website (https://www.voices4earth.org/hope-house).  Large piles of mulch were dumped onto their lawn and they needed our help with cleaning up their lawns and getting the mulch cleared away. We spent around three hours digging through the pile in the front yard and carrying those piles across the street. Some of us worked in groups that were responsible for handling the mulch, while others were raking up fallen leaves.

I found importance in helping promote sustainable living thanks to the work we did at the Hope House. Even though we did not finish shoveling all the mulch and raking up all the leaves, the important thing is that we learned the importance of not wasting something just because it doesn’t look perfect or appealing. During our tour, Naim said something that has been said once before on this trip when we visited the Heidelberg Project. We live in a throwaway society that wants to get rid of everything that’s perceived as ugly. I know that fruits and vegetable get thrown out simply for having some bruises or blemishes on them despite still being edible. Naim says we also live in a European concept of perfection where there are no branches on the ground and there’s green lawns everywhere. However, that concept of “paradise” is more damaging than many comprehend.

The final point is that we have learned the benefits of helping out communities with building sustainable societies and learning how to coexist with and thrive off of Mother Earth’s gifts.

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