I feel at home in my hood because I have always kept my street cred cool. I am fortunate enough because I have the coolest friends, people are nice to me, and my family is always around me. As a smart girl, I have been careful of who I hang out with because I would be destroying my future if I hang out with bad friends who drank alcohol or did drugs, girls with sugar daddies and school drop-outs. I am scared because they would influence me to live their lifestyle. I always like to hang out with friends with personality which is more like mine, humble and cool friends.

I have always seen other young girls getting pregnant, others being alcoholics and drug abusers. I don’t want to end up being like them because I can see a future ahead of me and I wish to be a scientist.

After school I go hang out at a game-shop and there is a house opposite the game-shop where gangsters live and they also go to the game-shop and ask for our money by force. I’m not scared of them because if they take my money, I will tell my mother and she will call the police. They are talkative to me, but I know their way of getting to people, they pretend to be nice and then rob you.

Now I’m in grade nine and I want to be an example to my hood, peers and those who look up to me. I just want to focus on my studies and make it my priority. Feeling at home in my hood makes me happy because if I was feeling unsafe I would be hiding at home scared of the gangsters or thinking about what my peers will think of me.

Talking to strangers is not easy. When I arrived in 2015 in my hood, I was shy to talk to everybody, but now I’m friendly to everyone and I have friends. I got to know other relatives of mine and it’s fun here. The one thing that I have never done was to try and fit in with the wrong crew. I think everyone should mix themselves with people who can correct them when they are doing wrong and hang around people who would give them positive advice. I have heard the cries of parents complaining about bad behaviours of their children. Some end up suffering from stroke and high blood pressures, I would not like my parents to experience that because of my behaviour, that’s why I associate myself with good friends.

I feel comfortable around my friends; they are more like a family to me. I like them and they also like me and we also have an ambition to finish our studies and have a dignified life in the future. If you want to feel safe or at home in your hood you just have to be yourself, don’t involve yourself with people who are doing bad activities. You just have to be open and talkative to people around you and your family, but not all of them, be careful of those who pretend to be friendly, but want to harm you. I feel free, I feel at home. This is my hood, your hood, our hood.