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"The Neighborhood Project": Harambee | Momma Donna

  Listen: When you drop into a community looking for stories, how do you get the neighborhood to come to life? You can go to an invigorated community leader or perhaps a longtime stake holder or maybe you search for the most distinctive character. And if you're lucky, you can find all three in the same person. In Harambee, that person is Momma Donna. I was doing an interview with Nannette Smith (more on that to come), and afterwards we discussed who else I ought to track down. As things go, Momma Donna called Nannette while we were in the process of talking about her, and ten minutes later I was on her front porch with a microphone: Isn't she amazing? The whole interview was phenomenal. In this second piece, Momma Donna and I were joined by one of her longtime neighbors: After the interview, she told me "If you tell somebody in this neighborhood you were talking to Donna, they wouldn't know who you were talking about. But if you said 'Momma Donna,' that same person would know exactly what's up." I didn't think much about the statement, but just later that day, that very thing happened on two separate occasions. Out takes! Momma Donna was full of remarkably honest and clear statements. Listen: This next one makes me wish I had a video camera with me -- Momma Donna was talking about how the only reward she needs is to "watch people and see how happy they are" and a fella' walks by with a big smile on his face. She interrupted herself to say "Hey there! How you doin'?" and I couldn't help but laugh at how wonderful that was: Want to learn more about Harambee? You can start at the Harambee Great Neighborhood Initiative blog. You can also check out the Harambee Connection section of the Riverwest Current. P r o duced by: Adam Carr