“On 1 June 2001, a soul was born in the most peaceful community that ever was…” That is what my grandparents used to tell me when I was a kid in pre-school who only knew to wake up in the morning and go to sleep at dusk.

I used to believe that the world was the most peaceful place a being could ever live in. But my belief has been fatefully changed as the world’s secrets have been revealed in front of my eyes piece by piece, since my mind has developed and as the years have passed. It all started in my hood, my community in which I felt as if I had never lived, I was introduced.

I was re-introduced into my hood, where my life was changed into a new era. Unknown activities conquered people’s minds. It got out of hand. Teenagers are culprits. It was like a planned move all along that waited to strike in the 21st century. What more could there ever be? What other damage could be caused? These questions were not answered, but only God knows…

My hood, my community, what changed you? I wish I knew. There is no harmony and peace in my hood. The streets are safe no more. Crime has taken a lead, it has taken over my hood. Even people we used to trust cannot put an end to it, even if they try their best. Crime started when smoke came to the people of my community. Drugs were introduced. Targeting the same age group and my own.

Smoking drugs became a habit that they let loose, tried it, then became addicted. Few realised it was doing harm. As we know the leaf does not last long. Whenever my peers get tempted, they have to steal from their parents, the very people who raised them. Few thought they were doing wrong – the majority did not realise it.

Smoking is now a habit to my people. Somebody said that danger had come. Teenagers were endangered but they treated it like a hobby. I wonder why people summon up bad things, but cannot call upon great things. It’s like a chain of friends who smoke while they are under-age. They cannot handle the craving of the green leaf. There is a friend who makes things more inversely proportional to the people of my hood.

Oh! Alcohol, what are you doing to me? What are you doing to my people? These two rats – drugs and alcohol – are busy destroying friends and families. It is hard to make friends when there is a thing that is against your wishes: I do not smoke or drink, nor do I have friends who do these being because manipulation is a great weapon that travels in a chain.

Each street has its own tradition. This is not the story that used to be told. We have abandoned peace and accepted horror and dread within our community. We cry out over pregnancy. It is like you need a child to be recognised. Our parents feel disrespected. Without our mothers we are nothing. Why can’t we respect. Respect makes me see right and wrong. But my hood can’t see that. I feel like an outsider in my hood.