I live in a country where everybody is afraid, where I would not want to visit. Where its own citizens criticize and tear down its very essence, especially those who have left its shores. The only country I am a citizen of. A beautiful country! An ugly country! A country I want to leave, for my children’s sake? A country where I want to remain because the country is me. All of it, the good, the bad, the ugly.
Barricades, grilled windows and doors, dead-bolt locks, security systems, big black ‘bad’ dogs are the standard features. Gone are the days when my front door could be left open without fear of an intruder. Where trees are no longer the far-away lands of my childhood but where men up to no good linger, awaiting my arrival home.
I should leave my country, so that my children can know the freedom I knew growing up. Riding my bike down the road without fear of being abducted, roaming the bush without a care in the world. I should leave for me, so that I can stop being afraid. So that I can stop looking over my shoulder every time I leave the bank to make sure I am not being followed. So that I can stop holding my breath, releasing only when my husband gets in safely at night.
I live in a country whose citizens nobody wants. A country whose citizens require a stamp in their passports to be allowed entry, and all agents are on alert when the passport is spotted. A passport that our own officials need not fear because they have their own, which gives them immunity when traveling, making them oblivious to what their citizens go through.
I live in a country whose elected leaders only speak to us when it is time for re-election. Who are so disconnected from the people they are supposed to serve that whatever is being served is not meeting our needs. Where the majority of its citizens cannot see that these elected ones have done us no good, because we are not taught to think, we are taught to recite. Where there are no jobs, and the dollar is of little value. Where we are beholden to foreign lands because we take, take, take. We do not earn.
Yet I take no action. I am part of the problem. When will I wake up and do something to change this beloved country of mine? When will I become a part of the solution? For my children, for me?