My Hood is a rural place in Limpopo called Tshivhangani village. The houses are far from one another and we travel with our own feet to the school in another village named Mashamba. I feel unsafe in my hood because there is a high percentage of crime. This is caused by poverty and it’s rare to find assistance from other people. Most of the time they help you in order to get paid in return. POVERTY has a home; like a quiet second skin. Our lives are completely adapted to it and this makes me feel so unsafe because poverty in my hood has changed people into monsters.

When I walk alone on the street, I have to go with a group of people whom I know behind me or next to me so that they can protect me from being raped, robbed or taken by force by the human traffickers. I am always thinking of how and when this will come to an end so that we can live in peace and harmony.

The very sad part is that we are still using the baskets on our heads to transport almost everything like water, bags of corns and fire wood for miles and miles. Poverty forces us to eat porridge of millet in the morning with a piece of a boiled meat and in the evening we repeat this. Most babies die of starvation while some get kidnapped and killed and sold to the witch doctors because it is believed that human body parts make good herbal medicine. My fears grow daily and all I think of is who is next to be murdered or hurt in other ways.

I see people everyday committing crimes in order to survive. Jobs are not easily found because we are living far away with big towns and cities where there is more availability of employment. When I travel to school I do not use transport and we walk as a group until we reach the school. I always hear the sound of shooting guns, because this is the time when criminals are getting ready to do their work. I feel like I could cry, but nobody will assist me. I am so afraid because sometimes we pass by dead bodies.

Another day I was on a street walking from the stream to fetch some water. What I saw still breaks my heart even today. There was an old lady and she was so frail that her body swayed this way and that like a thin stalk of corn in the wind. Her arms were as flat as boards. The flesh hung loosely and her hands which clutched the walking stick and were turned outwards and knobbly with age. This old lady was carrying her bag and had come to receive her grant money, but a group of little boys took her bag and ran away. She tried to scream for help but nobody tried to assist her, some laughed at her. I tried to convince the boys to give back the bag and I was stabbed with a knife by one of them. The old lady cried like a baby, it was so terrible because I imagined it was my mother or my grandmother.
I feel unsafe in my hood because there is no protection or peace. People don’t respect each other and many people die every day.