The ghetto hustle


I grew up in a slum where every kid smells filthy, always smudged with mud, bullied by the bourgeoisie and feeds on crumbs and left-overs of the rich.

We ran around the streets with our tattered rags as clothes, some of us hawk pure water and buns for our poor mothers. We struggled to feed at the expense of our lives, and from our gloomy windows, we peered at the rich kids with their school bags hung on their backs seated comfortably in their parents luxurious cars with air conditioner, driving to school every morning. But all we could do was to watch behind our façade of misery and poverty.

A decade ago, I lost a close friend who was running in-between cars in the market looking for who to patronise his little pure water business. If the beast with 36 heads had cared for the homeless and helpless children, my friend would still be full of life today-- but we couldn't put up with the hunger anymore as our stomachs nagged, it got to a point where Chidera my best friend had to sneak behind a kiosk to steal some snacks, but unfortunately hell smirked at him as he was caught, ripped, whipped and beaten to death, after which they pushed a big tyre on his torso, bathed him with petrol and set him ablaze.

I reel when my fragile heart weeps whenever the horror scenery flashes my mind. I wish God would understand why he had to steal, forgive him and grant him a space in His kingdom. May his soul continue to rest in peace.

You don't know how it feels to hustle as a kid; running errands without getting anything in return while your stomach taut. Worst when you have a blind mother who always feels bad of herself for not being able to provide for her children. Then left with no other choice, you decides to steal and  feed your poor mother and baby brother. That was Chidera's predicament.

I can imagine how he must have felt when he saw heavy sticks all raised in the air and landing thunderously on him as he scurdled and folded himself in horror. Chidera was everything good; he was compassionate, he was smart, full of life and also brave. But because of a poor disorganized mentality of the hood triggered by the ugly beast with 36 heads, chidera was killed.

It's never a crime to be born poor; what I consider a crime is not having a compassionate heart. An orphan in the street once ran to a car I was in, stuck in traffic and without letting him to beg, I dipped my hand inside my pocket and squeezed some Naira notes in his hands. He was so happy that he kept thanking me over and over again, and I was at peace; I was very happy knowing I've made someone smile. But what the poor kid don't know is that I'm also from the street.

If only we can make the world a better place.

I know there are good wealthy souls out there, and if you're reading this, please lend a helping hand to the children in despair suffering in the streets whenever you can. Their only crime was to be born poor.

We might still be in the slum, but we see light at the end of the tunnel. And as the rich kids, we are also the leaders of tomorrow.

Cheers to the ones we've lost on the way!.


©️ London Lucky Talbot ✍️

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