An Individual PerspectiveSeema Botz, South Africa

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your culture.

I came to Flint from South Africa and I am working toward my nursing degree. I have followed a strict vegetarian diet since birth. My family adheres to the practice of Hinduism and I love to read, swim and travel. I have three sons.

How did you come to the Greater Flint Area?

I came to the City of Flint by marriage – my husband is from Flushing.

What was your perception of the city when you first arrived? How has that changed?

At first, I was taken aback by how many buildings were empty and how much of the North end of Flint was in a state of disrepair and dilapidation. However, over the years, Flint has grown and flourished. Many of the residents have an amazing positive attitude and it has been wonderful to see. As the years went by, I involved myself in local community projects. It’s unbelievable to see how many people, projects and missions are out there to keep Flint and its community strong. The attitude has been positive and extremely hopeful.

What do you see in the future for Internationals and immigrants in Flint?

The hopeful picture is, unfortunately, tarnished by the current rhetoric in our society, which only means the people on the ground – like me – need to work harder to send out a positive and good message. With that being said, it has been more difficult for someone on the other side of the pond to make the jump here.

If someone you knew was planning to come to Genesee County, what would you tell them to expect?

Flint is a city with much cultural diversity and history. It has overcome so much adversity over time, such as the loss of the auto industry and the current water crisis. It holds diverse places of worship, religious schooling and community functions. It is also an affordable or cost-effective place to live. A newcomer can be assimilated easily here as there are organizations, foundations and communities that cater to many specific cultural needs.

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