IMDA Graduates

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Chanan Delivuk

Chanan Delivuk, conversation artist

i’m a slum kid and i’m a scholar.

so often i feel like i am being pulled into two directions. i have a strong affinity to the city; i grew up in curtis bay, a very poor part of south baltimore city, and will never forget the place that i come from. my family is still very much a product of this place. not to say that i am not. i just wanted a different life. i wanted education over babies, i wanted a good job instead of a shitty paying one that i can't stand. i wanted to earn everything that i had and live comfortably.

this feeling of being so connected to my home place, yet having no desire to return, reminds me of the change that is also occurring in delivuki, croatia. the urge to leave the small town in hopes of something better was so evident. there were only two people left in the village, and the nicest house of the few there was vacant. i can see how over the years more and more left the small village, just as my great-grandfather vaso and his brother jacko did in the early twentieth century when they came to america. vaso was a slum kid and is my inspiration.

there is something great about the unknown. something remarkable about chance and seizing opportunities to better yourself. my very being relies on the fact that my ancestors did just that, traveling across the ocean to begin a new life. as i reflect on my past, i am made more and more aware of just how fortunate i am despite the obstacles i had to overcome, that i am in the position i am in because of positive choices that i have made, just as vaso had made for himself and the generations of family to come.