Home and away

Recently I have been extraordinarily busy with finishing up my thesis and lecturing, teaching, marking, doing research, etc., and it’s been hard to find time to update this blog.

Normally I find this a good creative outlet for when I have something on my mind I want to discuss.  I guess I have just been too preoccupied with other things to have time to promulgate my opinions on life and the world these days.

However my thoughts were recently stirred when I listened to the 2 latest episodes of “This American Life“; namely those related to Harper High School, parts 1 & 2.

I was shocked and truly saddened to hear what was happening in my hometown, not far from where I lived for years.  From 2000 to 2005 I lived in various locations in the Pilsen neighbourhood.  The Harper High School chronicled in the show is just 6 miles from the last apartment I lived in at 2222 W. Cermak (the house I lived in is sadly now a bank parking lot.)

My first thought was of how far removed I feel, and felt, even then.

I lived so close, but was so totally unaware of the kind of violence that was a paret of people’s daily lives. I remember the story of the birthday party drive-by they described in episode 2, which was big news in the city back in 2006.  I never realised how common drive-by shootings actually were.

And while gangs and violence are a problem here in New Zealand to certain extent, it doesn’t coem anywhere near the level of American cities.  If you lose your wallet or an iPhone here, people actually turn it into the police.  It’s safe.  My boyfriend reckons he lives in the most ghetto part of Wellington, near the Newtown flats, and yet doesn’t even have a lock on his door.

Apparently “Only eight days into 2013, Chicago is already on a grim pace to not only continue the bloody trend of an elevated homicide rate — but to surpass it.” according to the Huffingtonpost.

My uncle was carjacked outside a service station in December near Berwyn. He has since decided living in Manila is safer, and moved back to the Philippines.

This kind of news just makes me feel sad.  I hear these kinds of stories and wish there was something I could do.  How can we help?  How can we solve problems like this?

I wish I had an idea.