Aminata Sawyer

My Neighborhood

How precious and beautiful
My Tucson neighborhood is
Look at my neighborhood shining
Like the sun from above
Gleaming like silver and gold

I love sitting at my window most of my quiet moments
Watching the birds playing in the sky
Listening to the sound of the calm and magnificent wind
Blowing through my window into my room
Watching the kids playing the whole day long
At night from my window watching the movie
From the movie theater

Hearing the voices of angels singing from above
Imagining how happy my neighborhood is
Having all kinds of fun places to go
The library, park, zoo, movie theater, and stores
If I am bored and want to get rid of the boredom
I go to the park, watch the kids playing
See all kinds of people: black, white,
Africans, Americans, Mexicans or colored
It takes away the sadness on my face
It makes me smile like when you find your lost one
Feel cool and calm

My neighborhood is like a friend to me
It encourages and comforts me all the time
It makes me laugh when I’m sad
My neighborhood is the water
And I am the fish

Sometimes when I think of my old neighborhood (Sierra Leone)
I feel so sad that I want to go back
I always think about this saying “no place like home”
Even if you go east, west, north, or south
You will always come back home
But when I see my other family here it gives me courage
And empowers me to do my best in school

My old neighborhood in Africa (Sierra Leone)
Used to be loving, caring, and religious
Having all kinds of fun places
Beautiful mountains, hills, grassland, forest, and farmland

But politics have ruined it all
It has put a gun on the happiness that held us together
Now it is so weary
Disgusting, harmful, and dangerous
Shooting, looting, and killing
The poor innocent people
Damaging of properties

Raping of women and children
Taking the babies from their mothers’ wombs
I imagine when the rebel wanted to shoot at me
Suddenly I was saved by a boy, Allieu,
Who was shot in his foot
At this time it is like you hold your own life in your hands
Seeing your own death hunting you
Sometimes I prayed “O God take my life”
Let me rest instead of living in this unjust world,
The poor know no peace in life
Because of the rich ones

The catastrophe continued
Taking of people’s eyes
Burning of houses
No freedom for the poor people
The young ones learn how to
Shoot, kill, load ammunition
Take drugs and alcohol
They asked their mother what business they are going to do
Instead of going to school
They do trading to sustain their lives
There is no money to send the children to school
Education now had become an elite privilege
Nobody cares for the poor
Some people are suffering
Others are struggling
No food, clothes, or shelter

But I’m glad
Light has shined upon me being in the U.S.
The mercy of God I have received
I am praying that one day I will go back and help the needy ones

My Tucson neighborhood is like the water of a fountain
It cools me down when I’m hot
Makes me happy through difficulties
Consoles me in times of sorrow

It is beautiful like a rose
I love my happy, exciting,
And peaceful neighborhood

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