Amelia Jallayu

My Very Own Neighborhood

Dear Jaltoh,

If I were to tell you how much I miss our neighborhood, I would just bring back the past memory of how we all used to play together and how I miss all of our past. Friend if I were to tell you all about the boredom of my neighborhood, you won’t have the courage to come live here. The boredom of my neighborhood comes with how quiet it is, the empty streets and the ugly trees.

I can only envisage how you would feel if you were to live in this stillness neighborhood. I can feel that if this neighborhood was to be like ours, I mean our own neighborhood where all of us played together and went to bed any hour, then it would be a good neighborhood. The neighborhood where all of us got to sit under one big tree and play our games. I hope you can remember the games we played together under that tree with the branches covering my house roof. The Lundi – Mardi, your favorite; remember the rocks how we threw them up like the bird flying to the sky. Do you still remember the jump rope, how we all got in at once and jumped? I remember it was my favorite.

Friend, I miss our neighborhood. I miss our busy streets, those streets where the kids are always running around, and the cars and the bikes, our busy streets that make our neighborhood motivating. I miss our food, our palm-butter and cassava leaf soup with rice. I miss our greens soup, my favorite. My mother does cook all these things here, but they taste absolutely different. It tastes even better in our old neighborhood than here. It even smells better in our old neighborhood than here. How do I miss it? I miss it with my whole life.

Dear friend,

Because my neighborhood here in Tucson is unexciting, deeply quiet, empty streets, and a lot of tiny trees, I think about our attractive and appealing neighborhood. I miss how active it was.

Oh friend, how hard it is living in a quiet neighborhood like this. This is a neighborhood where you don’t get to talk to your neighbors nor their kids because they are always inside their houses. It’s a quiet neighborhood; I mean really quiet. Jaltoh, this is a neighborhood that has people I’d never know. I don’t even know the color of people that live around me, because I don’t see them coming or going out. I don’t know who they are or where they are from. Friend, why is it so quiet in this neighborhood? Why is it not noisy like our neighborhood? Is it because it’s a different country or what?

Do you think it would’ve been a delightful idea if our neighborhood was this quiet? Never, because I know what you enjoy, you love a noisy neighborhood like our old one. In that neighborhood, all the kids were running around with happy faces on. Our pleasant neighborhood, the only place that makes the kids pleased to live.

Friend,

I know living in a quiet neighborhood gives people the opportunities to rest; but having it this low makes everything sound ugly about it. Friend, if I were to tell you why I think this neighborhood is tedious, it would be because I’m not used to living in a deeply quiet neighborhood. I’m used to a neighborhood where everyone got to divide everything they had. A neighborhood where everyone shared food and house materials, or sometimes the neighborhood kids would get together and eat from the same bowl.

A neighborhood where all the kids got to play together, that’s the best thing about it. Playing soccer or something is fun for everyone. A neighborhood where all the parents gathered under one big tree, that same tree, and shared their stories. I’m used to a neighborhood that has people with happy faces. A neighborhood where all my neighbors come and sit under the tree in front of my house to get cool air, which makes me feel good.

Jaltoh,

The streets in my neighborhood are so empty; that you get uninterested looking at them. They are all broken as if someone took something to break them. The thing I hate most about my neighborhood are the street lights. When it comes to the street lights, I feel like I’m in the darkest part of the world. The streets get so dark at night, I feel unsafe in my neighborhood. I sometimes get scared when looking outside in the darkness, feeling that someone is able to hurt or murder his or her friend in the darkness. When looking outside in the darkness, the only thing to be seen is the light from the houses. That’s what scares me about my current neighborhood.

Why it is that almost everything about this neighborhood is negative? It has ugly trees and ugly houses. Some of theses trees and houses are so ugly. When telling you about the old houses, I’ll first inform you about my house. I live in a house with three tiny trees, instead of one big tree. It is a house with lots of marks on it. I desire to one day live in a house with one big tree in front of it and a house with no marks on it. A house my family will love. A house that will make me feel joyful when looking at it. Not only a house, but also a neighborhood that will make me feel cheerful

Sincerely,

Amelia Jallayu

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