REFLECTION, Walk 44, Yr 2, Saturday, October 8, 2016, nine mindfulness walkers strolled through Chinatown and West Fresno.
Thoughts: Common themes were beautiful murals, homeless people, front yard fences, and rich cultural diversity. Walkers described Chinatown as a big deal in the past but now in disrepair after decades of decline. Not just Chinese, but love the mix of many cultures.
Sights: Chef Paul’s Cafe, MURALS, homeless people with behaviors of mental illness and addictions. Many broken and boarded up windows, boarded up houses. Walkers smiled at the cultural mix of African American culture, Hispanic, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese. Evidence of people sleeping on the streets and belongings. Walkers could tell the buildings use to be really nice but now rundown. Enjoyed houses with porches, but now fences around properties, lots of front yard dogs lunging at walkers. On numerous occasions, walkers were scared by aggressive dogs, big and small.
Walkers described the surprise of the elaborate Buddhist Temple and the Asian architecture of the catholic church. Walkers talked about an era gone by with money to maintain these cultural landmarks.
Walkers strolled the perimeter of Lincoln Elementary School, outside the locked fences, and were sad that they could not find a sign with the name of the school. Across the street from the school, was a boarded up house, and then Frank Ball Park that was locked but with chains loose enough for a person to squeeze through the gate. Two dogs ran freely inside the park and personal belongings were strewn on the ground and on benches around the playground.
Walkers saw many yards with front yard seating and children’s play equipment. Squirrels frolicked up and down trees. Saw a man sleeping on a bed inside a shed at the side of a home.
Walkers talked about downtown revitalization efforts and the many people living on the streets. Where will homeless people go to revitalize this area? If revitalization pushes them out, they will just relocate. People are not leaving the planet! So for revitalization to work, homelessness, mental illness, and addiction problems need to be address.
Walkers witnessed numerous people living on the streets who exhibited erratic, unusual, and possibly aggressive behavior – unpredictable, signs of drug and alcohol use and addictions…..Walkers saw people drinking cans of beer in the morning.
Walkers chatted with a family on their porch, kids eating Cheetos. Walkers discussed the issue of getting fresh groceries downtown, and without a car, it’s difficult to travel with groceries, or must buy small quantities and shop often. One Walker noticed that the Louie Kee Market sells rolling carts. Walkers were relieved that the Central Fish Company is still downtown.
Walkers stopped and pointed to a rainbow in a small patch of clouds.
Walkers enjoyed the many murals and noticed they were not tagged with graffiti. Louie Kee Market murals has a thank you note to people who contributed to the mural. People respect the murals.
Walkers described signs of community — houses decorated for Halloween and yard sales –people were friendly and greeted us.
Sounds: lot of birds this morning, chickens, roosters/chicken in front yard. Train whistle and bells, burglar alarm, dogs barking, Spanish language music, pop music coming from 2nd story windows.
Smells: fresh baked bread, chicken on bbq, Chef Paul’s delicious home cooked food. Strong fishy smell in Central Fish Market, urine on the overpass and in alley. Mexican food restaurant. Walk over freeway walkers smelled fresh cinnamon rolls. Trash.
Walkers met Slick who told us about the dangers of living in Chinatown. He had a cast on his arm and said he was jumped and beaten. Slick told us this area would be dangerous to walk at night, and that it’s good we are in a group.
Inside Louie Kee market, a walker talked with a regular shopper, Dean Woods, the daughter of Vernon Riggens, the first African American to play basketball for Fresno State. Dean is also the niece of Pastor Chester Riggens of Saints Rest Baptist Church. Dean worked three jobs so her daughter could attend UC Berkeley and become a registered nurse. If you know Dean, please say hello from Fresno Mindfulness Walks.
These are our brothers and sisters in Fresno. All of our lives and futures are tied together.
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