We were just a group of friends from the community who got together and took drugs as a way to forget about the violence. But over time, we turned to dealing drugs. The drugs made us violent, they changed our mind sets. We were feared in the community, everyone was scared of us. We were rejected by everyone; my parents didn’t want me at the house. I felt hopeless and angry, it just made the gang more stubborn and violent. Eventually, politicians started using us to undertake violence for their own gains – they would buy us arms, ammunition, or our drugs.
I knew we were doing wrong. I tried so many times to stop selling drugs and getting in trouble with the police. But I always fell back into it.
Their visit to us expressed love. Nobody had ever come to speak to us like that before. They weren’t saying we were bad people, but they expressed love for us. Their visit made us feel like we belonged in the community.
Now that the other youth in the YPP support me and believe in me, for the first time, I feel like I have a bright future.
I have not sold drugs for six months and have taken up farming. I will never carry any weapon to destroy my own people and property again – that’s a promise. We have changed the name of the gang to Nice Club and rather than sell drugs we try to help the community in some way –we do sanitation, help people on their farms and do other charity work. I want my life to be an example to others about how you can change, I want to tell people my story, tell them about my old life and how different it is from the present one I am enjoying.