I decided to go over to the Shaw neighborhood today. On my way I ran into Kenneth from Day 30. He said he was having what he called “death nightmares” and was being admitted to Georgetown hospital today. Kenneth, who suffers from various mental illnesses, was not sure how long he would be there. My friend Mike had his own battles with mental illness and about eight years ago also went to Georgetown Hospital. He said it completely changed his life and he now has his situation under control. Kenneth usually sells Street Sense outside the north entrance to the Dupont Circle Metro…keep an eye out for his return and welcome him back with a smile and a hello…heck buy a paper!
When I came out of the Metro at Shaw, I was greeted by a fight between some teens. The one boy got free and ran away. It’s definitely a different vibe than my neighborhood. I was about 15-20 blocks from my home and I thought that I would start to explore the neighborhood and gradually make my way back to my place on foot. A few blocks later I met Dannie.
He was sitting at a bus stop, dressed in work clothes and a hard-hat. He lit a cigarette as I sat down next to him and introduced myself. Originally from North Carolina, Dannie now lives in the nation’s capital and says he loves it. “It’s the land of opportunity” he says. He is referring to the fact that he feels fortunate to have had plenty of work over the past 20 years. Right now he is working on a window installation project at a local high school.
I asked him what he planned on doing with the $10…he smiled and said he would use it for transportation.
Dannie is a father and talked to me about the importance of his kids getting a good education. Dannie didn’t continue his studies after high school and is now studying to become a carpenter…but he says that it is much harder going back to school at his age. “It’s been over 20 years since I’ve done fractions!”
Check out the video below of Dannie talking about education and how it has influenced his life.