Willian Chan Ojullu
15 YEARS OLD, KENYA
It’s being 16 years in a foreign land.
It’s always hustling and wrestling with ideas.
It’s waking up in the morning
and looking at the rising sun
and couldn’t tell where to get the breakfast.
It’s being heartfelt of worries and wishes.
It’s being confused and wondering why I was born to shift
from place to place.
It’s clinging on to hope to keep your hearts warm.
It’s holding faith that one will see the next daybreak.
I’m tired of this misery.
Tired of begging on the street.
I’m exhausted of working hard for something to pass through my salivating mouth.
And my heart torn into pieces
due to severe heartbreaks.
I’m fighting fiercely to voices the hardship in my life.
I’m sick of this African continent.
Sick of it all!
Beto Gilo Omot
13 YEARS OLD, KENYA
I, the African child, fights a lot of hardships in life.
I, the African child, considered to be of low understanding.
I, the African child, ready to takes up the responsible at any time,
because I don’t know when my family will stick around
or left my present and went
I, the African child, could see death is everywhere!
For me, it’s being respectful to one’s parents and elders.
For me, it’s being pleasant and kind to others.
For me, it’s facing fear and losing hope.
For me, it’s lacking future in education.
For me, it’s defend yourself or die.
For me, it’s having a skin
that resist diseases.
For me, it’s praying hard
to once again see your homeland.
For me it’s tough all around.
May god bless my homeland!
13 YEARS OLD, KENYA
It’s being 14 years old…
I’ve gone through a lot of pain in my life,
all the abuses and being stoned in Businia market by those curly haired slimy boys,
who’re not even from my tribes.
They kept holding their clothes up to the noses, as if I stink, only, because I’m a black girl.
Also for being from different faith,
and for my dresses being a bit dissent to your sisters’.
I know I don’t have so many friends who could accompany me to the shops,
but a few.
So you think you could just walk up straight and slap me in the face?
Too sorry for your cruelty.
Whenever I walk on the street you call me Sudanese, and
I really abhor being call that way,
while I’m not.
I’m an Anuak.
this is to those who don’t know me,
to the sturdy who thinks they’re huge and strong,
and could easily beat me up, because I’m weak and on the other hand, a teenage girl!
Could you please keep the clenched fists for yourselves?
Because I’m not a drum,
my delicate body is too small for your folly.
And stop looking down upon me.
Could you cease insulting me religiously?
Because I’m a Christian?
13 YEARS OLD, KENYA
It’s being teenagers anyway and not knowing when to risk running into
It’s hearing many cases of school dropout and make one feel so bad,
And the boys of your age started getting into drugs.
I love my double identity because I’m half-cast.
It’s being proud of the challenges one faces.
It’s promising oneself as God’s servant
It’s being able to really love who you are and thanking God for a single passing day
Because you will never change
Ones is complexity.
It’s liking one’s skin color so much that you couldn’t afford to lose it.
It’s to mock the bleachers who rush to hospitals or chemists
to inject themselves,
so they may looks a bit brighter.
I’m happy to be a girl.
Will you dare take advantage of my weakness?
Ochwanyinga Ogut Omot
16 YEARS OLD, KENYA
What is it like to be growing up?
I’m scared sometimes to look myself in the mirror, right there above the cupboard.
I wondered often what will people who see
these changes think of me.
I’m disappointed of my growing,
my brother use to tell me
that I’m a grown up now,
that I should change my behavior.
I mean, how I carry myself around.
Also, there’re few things I like about growing up,
especially the nice smell of a pedicure on my toe nails.
My hips are broadening,
my chest is swelling.
What will my friends think of me?
What if they say I’m fat like the elephant in the pack?
What if a boy say he like the way I look,
I mean my appearance?
Will I be coy to look him right in face and tell him that I don’t like the way he talk?
My people used to say that those changes are normal.
They even give it a name
“Adolescence,” they said.
And it involves emotional and physical changes.
These days, I enjoy walking in the dark more then in the day light.
I walk with my chest bent forward because I’m shy they would see my breasts,
because I don’t want them to gossip about me.
So it better I change the way I think of myself,
because these changes will never come to an end.