Week 4: A little bit of everything – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 4: A little bit of everything

On the way home from work today, Maya and I were talking about how something feels like it shifted this week for the better.

For me, this is the first week when I’ve felt solidly in control of all the moving pieces in my work. I have been feeling overwhelmed at times because my organization is running three programs, and I’m doing work related to all of them in addition to a literature review. Last week I stared at the thirty-three pages of research I have written for my literature review that needs to be condensed into a two page report by this Friday (tomorrow) without knowing how I would go about it. Today I am down to three and a half pages of summary, with plans to also give my supervisor more broad versions of the information in a longer report and in a presentation in case she wants more detail at any point after I leave. 

Two other great things about my week:

1. My lovely roommate Olivia brought homemade strawberry jam she made at her site back to our dorm!

2. One of my coworkers brought aloe vera clippings into the office for us to take! 

This morning, I toured some of the homes that Bridging Neighborhoods is in the process of renovating. I’m still really enjoying learning about how homes are constructed and learning some of that vocabulary. I learned that in many Detroit homes, the pipe that takes everything to the sewer is made of terracotta and can be one hundred years old. An issue with this is that tree roots can grow through the terracotta and cause issues, so Bridging Neighborhoods puts a new durable PVC pipe into every home they renovate. I like learning about those kinds of things in houses I have never considered and all the steps Bridging Neighborhoods takes to make sure homes are mold and dust free, even though some of the tests aren’t required.

After the tours, one of my coworkers drove me around the River Rouge area, through Warrendale near where it becomes Dearborn, and by the Ford and AK Steel plants. We saw a lot of dumping in empty lots and on curbs in neighborhoods. This was really sad to see, especially since kids were running around the neighborhoods too. I think it’s really awful that people saw those streets as a place to leave their garbage. I asked my coworker about where the nearest grocery store and pharmacies were to the roads we were driving on. It seems like some of these neighborhoods really weren’t at all built with the best interest, health, or ease of the residents in mind.

2 thoughts on “Week 4: A little bit of everything”

  1. Thanks for the shoutout roomie!💖💖It’s really cool you’re learning so much about how to renovate a home and seeing more of your site’s community. Also really glad your project is going well! You’re amazing!

  2. Hey Caitlin!
    Good luck on your report haha. I definitely know how that feels because research can get messy and condensing it all can take a while. Your organization sounds really interesting and I bet it’s fun to learn about things that you’d probably never look up yourself like the roots growing into pipes and how to prevent dust and mold in your home. Since I also work in Southwest I know what you’re talking about with the dumping and it’s a huge problem that we are also trying to tackle with clean up days. It is quite sad.

    I also loved the jam!
    -Aminata

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