Friday, May 11, 2012

Experiential Journal: Visiting Ramapough Families Affected by Toxic Waste

By Luan Madani

          For my out-of-the-classroom experiential, I had a great opportunity to meet with members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation and visit their residences in Ringwood, NJ where they have been affected by toxic waste from the Ford Motor Company.
          For my journalism senior project, my assignment called for me to cover the Ramapoughs and develop story ideas pertaining to them. One idea was documenting the recovery from the toxic waste, which required me to visit the area in question. After having met with a few people who were affected, they took me to their houses and around their properties to show me affected lands.
          I saw many areas where paint waste was still visible and some families had their water systems rendered incapacitated due to this. Also, some families had sinkholes in their backyards, which were caused by old iron mine where toxic waste was dumped. It was a sad thing to see how so many people are affected by the negligence of a corporation and how people are still suffering from the effects decades later.
          Speaking with the people affected, you can see the pain and the frustration and even anger that they are feeling. Through no fault of their own, they are dealing with the consequences of the irresponsibility from decades ago.
          It was a good experience for me to be able to speak with these people and help share their stories. I found it to be a good opportunity for me to learn about another culture of people and hear their stories and get an inside view of how this issue has been making so many people struggle throughout the years.

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