I wanted to stop and talk with this man a few days ago, but I didn't have my camera with me. I needed to know his story, and take his picture. I needed to know the how and why he has ended up sitting on a stump under a tree surrounded by garbage...in the shadow of a building that can only represent greed, waste and stupidity, The Motor City Casino. If I was a part of the Motor City Casino and knew that this kind of abject despair was lurking only a few feet away from my front door and I did nothing about it, I would lower my head in shame. This man needed a voice and so I volunteered to let him be heard.
He told me his name was "Kayto". He spelled it out for me, K-A-Y-T-O, and then reminded me that his name was like Cato, from The Green Hornet. Smart and funny, and much like anyone else you may have heard about who has ended up in this kind of plight, Kayto was not always this way. He's just another casuality in The City of Detroit. No jobs. No place left to live. He chooses to hang out here, but he keeps his distance from the others on the block. Of course, there was the booze and drugs and loss of loved ones that sent him completely over the edge, and now he is here, on his "front porch", enjoying the beautiful Detroit weather!
Please look at the pictures of this man very carefully and study him. He wears his cap jauntily tilted to one side. His shirt and jeans are in pretty decent condition. His shoes look fairly new. He clings tightly to his backpack and sleeping bag/windbreaker. There is a grocery bag with some free food inside. Kayto has no teeth, but he looked pretty well kept, his beard and mustache neatly trimmed. However, his watery blue eyes possessed that glassy stare of an alcoholic, and when I thanked him for his time and handed him a five dollar bill, he reacted as if he had just won the lottery! Then it got scary!
Kayto told me I had made his day and then I turned around and I was a in the middle of a scene from Dawn of the Dead! All these people had started coming towards me, hollering! I got worried and then skeedaddled back into the truck I had left running across the street. This area of the city is hard core. MLK and Third. I would not recommend anyone else venturing over there unaccompanied. But I am not you. I am (almost) fearless.
The rest of these photos represent the area surrounding the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) at MLK and Third.. God Bless the people who work or volunteer their time to at least see that this sector of our population get one hot meal a day, and medical care once in awhile. I don't know what else I can say except that I see things differently from others who probably drive by this scene every day of the week. I am compelled to dig deeper and my compassion for the downtrodden eats away at my very soul. I pray that you might stop once in a while and lend a hand to those in need. We are all human.
|Motor City Casino looms in the near distance.|
|This is home for some...not for the faint of heart.|
|Kitties on one side...somebody's bed on the other side!|