Vol Fan and I are currently in Albany, Georgia.
In reading about this place before we arrived, I was not excited about coming here. It is not exactly a tourist mecca. High poverty. High crime. Just not exactly a place screaming for people to come and visit.
After arriving here, I found that the things I read were not wrong. The poverty in this area is extensive. There is not much here in the way of industry and that leads to high unemployment. Which leads to high poverty. Which leads to high crime.
But I also found something else. The people in this area, while faced with huge challenges, are some of the friendliest people we have ever encountered. Even in Wal-Mart which is ALWAYS full of unhappy people and unhappy, unhelpful workers, I encountered people that were smiling. Employees spoke and asked if I was finding everything I needed. Same thing at Kohls. Same thing at Winn-Dixie.
I also found that the stores are neat and clean. Usually a Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon or a Kohls on any afternoon is a wreck. Things strewn about. Shelves not stocked. But that was not true here. The Kohls was the tidiest Kohls I have ever been in. Things were in place - even sorted by size! In Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie, the shelves were all neatly stocked. It made for a very nice shopping experience.
So while this place may have a lot of things stacked against them, a lot of obstacles to overcome, I think they just might make it. They certainly seem to take pride in their town and in their jobs. And that is a great foundation on which to build.