Foreigners You are Welcome by Amber Koneval


Wageni mwakaribishwa

 in the name of the sugar cane

the thick banana trees pregnant with hard work,

watered with

sweat

and tears that fall from honey eyes

the whites stung with yellow by the

wasps of disease-

eyes that smile, nonetheless

as the stroke of the machete fells

years of sacrifice

just to give us a taste

of what they have

that is worth fighting for

 

 

 

Wageni mwakaribishwa

 in the name of the drying mud

pounded by the feet of children

who delight in the sight

of our pale moon skin

feet calloused to the rocks of the

unpaved roads they run

fleet as the gods of wind

just to give us a taste

of what they have

that is worth running for

 

 

 

Wageni mwakaribishwa

 in the name of the tasteless ugali

dipped and rolled in the juices of

a freshly slaughtered chicken

the blood of a dignity

that could rival ten thousand princes

held in the thin necks

and gnarled backs, warped with time

and the indifference of spineless nations-

at least they have the bones to

hold them up,

these simple village people with their

simple village joys;

and their bottomless hearts

and their borderless dreams:

these they show us

just to give us a taste

of what it’s like

to be worth dying for.

 

 

 

This was written as a response to the prompt “Write a poem that uses a line/lines in another language as it’s tie-in point, and go from there”.

For me, this is a poem that recalls the time I spent in Kenya, Africa, with the SAFI organization building wells and re-building huts for the local villagers. It’s been almost a year since I have been there, and I miss them more and more every month. It’s my dream to go back, for a longer period of time, as soon as I graduate.

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