Walk #44 Friday, May 29, 2015, 8 a.m. 5 FMWalkers met at Saint Rest Baptist Church in Fresno. This church is on Reverend Chester Riggins Avenue, a street named for the pastor of 44 years who empowered the west Fresno community from the pulpit and as a postal carrier. The pastor of Saint Rest now is DJ Criner, who seems to have taken not only the pulpit, but the role of empowering the community. DJ was at the church this Saturday morning hosting a group of out-of-town guests of PICO, the national organization of the local affiliate, Faith in Community.
It’s 2 miles between Saint Rest church and the Darling Rendering Plant, so the walk was 4 miles round trip. Walkers strolled through neighborhoods of houses, condos, apartments, Housing Authority complexes, schools, along Hyde Park, and down busy California Street in front of Edison High School.
This was a Friday morning, which is different from the usual Saturday morning walks.
Walkers commented how quiet it was. In some stretches, just the birds, light wind in the trees, and stillness of the morning. Other words used to describe this walk were: changing, mixed, gritty.
Walkers were surprised, pleasantly, at the grand buildings of Gaston Middle School. Walkers saw the entrance to the health clinic within the school building. One walker talked about the many years of west Fresno children being bused to other parts of town for 7th and 8th grades. This middle school was long overdue for this community.
While many of the houses and apartments are struggling, walkers saw newly remodeled or newly built houses and housing complexes. The Housing Authority complexes were nicely maintained and seemed newly remodeled. There was a strip of new houses opened just 15 months ago. Walkers met two ladies in wheelchairs who moved in 15 months ago, and told us they also received a new washer and dryer when they moved in.
Much of this walk was pleasantly shaded by many big mature trees. The arching shade protected walkers along streets without sidewalks. Loose dogs barked at us, and we saw front porches with seating furniture and signs of front-yard life.
These weekly walks often wind through the ‘nooks and crannies’ of Fresno, so we took marked and unmarked paths and walked through a dirt field between Edison and Hyde Park. We did not see a parking lot for Hyde Park, but a few pickups and older model cars were parked in random areas of the dirt field that is at the end of the park. At least one of the cars was occupied by one or more persons.
We walked up the hill of Hyde Park. Walkers talked about Hyde Park being a covered landfill. What does that mean for this community? Does pollution leak from an old landfill? The hill is odd in this very flat area of valley.
We saw the entrance to Foster Farms plant. Workers were being dropped off and picked up for the 9 o’clock shift change. Walkers talked about these workers being one-car families. Workers were dawning rubber boots, thick aprons, hair nets, and duffle bags from the trunks of their cars before entering through the security entrance. Walkers talked about the challenges of working in a chicken plant and making this kind of labor meaningful.
There was a pungeant odor in the air that made one walker pull the t-shirt up over her nose. This smell was from the Darling rendering plant and the meat plant. The wind was blowing from west to east, toward Edison HS, Edison Compu-tech, Gaston, and MLK Elementary school.
Walkers saw many yards with gardens of vegetables and flowers. We met Edgar whose yard was beautiful and lush. He was dumping a bucket of water on a tree. Edgar told us that he recycled water from his laundry to use for watering his yard.
We saw numerous churches right within the neighborhoods. Walkers talked about the difference between mega churches on main thoroughfares vs. some neighborhoods with small churches right among the houses.
We walked through the Bigby Villa Apartments at Riggins Ave and
Facebook photo album Wwalk #44 https://www.facebook.com/pg/fresnomindfulnesswalks/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1618176848469063This entry was posted in Uncategorized