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I have lived in Hayward, California since I was around five years old. I have always lived on the south side. The kids in my school always seem to refer to it as the ghetto side of Hayward, joking about the gangs that seem to hang around there and how you have to watch your back. I even joke about it too but we all know it’s not as bad as we make it seem. I have always seen the south side as home because it’s where I have lived. It is not as modern as downtown- it doesn’t have new buildings and sidewalks- but it has it’s own style. It’s actually a little weird too see white people out on the street in my neighborhood and the Mexicans don’t dominate the place like many people think. We have an array of different ethnicities, there’s the Guatemalans the Salvadorenos the Indians the African-Americans there’s so many of us even our shopping centers seem a little out of order. We have Chavez Supermarket and right next to it is the Afghan Market. The park down the block from my house houses the skate boarders and the men who just got off of work and want to chill with a piece of pizza and the children playing in the playground while the tired parents watch them fall of the slide.
I have lived in a house, a duplex -which is like two houses in one-, and in multiple apartments. We finally settled on a building that houses four big apartments. One thing that has always been a constant in my life despite all the different neighborhoods were the street vendors. The guy that sells the ice cream in a small cart to the guy that sells corn on a stick and flavored shaved ice. In every house I lived in it was always different people but they all sold the same things. Yet, despite them always being there I have never given time to learn their names or learn where they are from. Considering how they always have been there it is rude of me to never have really know them.
I want to know the street vendors on my block. I want to get to know the snack guy who is around the corner of my street every day. He wears his sombrero and always seems to have people around him, talking to him and just chilling sitting on crates. Even the people who are just buying corn seem to strike up a conversation. The next man I want to get to know is the one who knocks on my door to sell us some strawberries because he knows we’ll always buy some. I want to know who these people are. They have always been in the background in my life and I want them to be a person in my portrait now.