By Mwashi Litonde Peter
This poem is inspired by a story of a small boy living as an internally displaced person in the Rift valley Kenya after the post election violence witnessed in the country as a result of disputed results of the presidential election, announced on 30th December 2007.
The violence left over 200,000 people displaced and more than 1000 dead. The worst affected area was the cosmopolitan Rift valley. Women and children suffered the most.
The boy was in the Kenyan media on the material day he went back for his bike. I can only imagine his feelings as he awaits what the future holds for him and many in the camp.
I once owned a bike, a good bike,
This bike was part of me,
A treasure that I can’t measure
It perfectly, suited me, served me!
A bike that no one couldn’t like!
It would take me to school,
I would use it to go to the shops,
And more so to visit my friends!
With my bike we all shared a ride,
One after the other, together we enjoyed.
But I left my bike behind, out in rain,
When everyone was running for their life,
How come I didn’t remember
That with my bike I would be faster?
My bike, I undermined its potential!
It has bean worrying me much,
Of what begot my dear bike.
Today I ran miles back to find out,
At this point tears fill my eyes,
And not that my bike is not there,
But of the condition I found my bike!
Full of rust, it is won out,
It cannot function at the moment,
The chain is dry out of oil,
The tires are full of punctures and wholes,
I can only carry my bike on the shoulders!
What pains me, is the neighbor, my neighbor
Who warned me not to dare come back,
I wish he new the pain in me of my bike!
A bike that was well functioning,
But it will need a serious service to serve!
My bike will need a scrub and a new paint,
White I propose, to look new!
A Lubricating oil from the city of tolerance
New tires that can endure this journey of democracy,
And stronger brakes to control the impatience
If possible another pair of peddles of dialogue
A good sit of love and trust will work,
This way I will have my bike back may be better,
To take me to school, and to my friends,
One by one I will carry them,
To a new field cleared of impunity!
The field of truth, justice, and reconciliation,
And more so of a mature democracy,
I will start with my very own neighbor,
For with my bike we shall peddle once again!
The poet is a children rights activist and a thespian specializing with participatory approaches for community change working with an initiative ‘Child PEACE Africa’ currently in Korogocho slums in Nairobi Kenya. (firstname.lastname@example.org)