OpEd, Politics

I will never forget my former landlord and Juba City Council alike

If things that sadden people are counted on earth, homelessness should come second or third.

Being homeless, there is no type of embarrassment I have not faced from the landlords, including the saddest that I will never forget in my dear life.

With renting being unregulated, landlords act like they were the ones who caught Sadam Hussein alive and handed him over to America. They never pay attention to any excuses you make, including the sorrowful ones. Once they think of chasing you away, they cannot give you three months like the rules of renting say. They can surprise you in the morning with a shocking statement that, “I have given you three days to leave my house”.

If you go out to look for a house to rent, you cannot find it within three days, and when the three-day ultimatum elapses, believe me, the landlord cannot feel pity for you. The next day you step out in search of a house to rent, and you will definitely get your belongings thrown outside. If you call the police to help you out, it is as if you have called the immediate cousins of the landlord. Both of them may unite against you and in the end, you become the victim.

In 2021, I almost became mad over a very sorrowful embarrassment by my landlord at the Gudele residential area. For three good years of renting his house without any day we have quarreled over anything, I never knew my landlord would slap my face that way. This is my first time to write about it. After doctors diagnosed my younger sister with breast cancer at a late stage, I brought her to my house as she received palliative treatment. My landlord, his wife and children began to know themselves with my sister.

When her condition worsened, I sent her to my elder brother on her request that I should be taken home so that if I die, I would not trouble you carrying my body home with a lot of money. Her grief statement and the prognosis the doctor told me made me weep every moment I remembered them. On the day she was traveling home, I took her to the airport and saw her off home. Her days began numbering. On the 28th of April 2021, she succumbed to the merciless cancer. Informed by my brother at around 1:00 AM, I wept loudly and my landlord, together with neighbors, came to console me.

In the morning, I ran to my friends to help me raise a little amount to use for travel and other things necessary. By the grace of God, they raised a good amount of money. I’m always grateful for what they did to me during that mournful period. At home in the evening, my landlord drew closer to me as if giving me a second round of consolation, little did I know he came closer to ask for the payment of his money. “It is 28th today and I expect you to give me the monthly payment of the house”, said my landlord.

When I told him that I was going home for burial with the little money I had, he released a painful statement that I should not step out if I had not paid him. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I stood up to bring him the money. What shocked me the most was that, he demanded for a three-month payment and I used to pay him monthly before. I gave him the money for two months and I promised to pay the remaining balance when I returned. He accepted it and released me.

When I returned, I gave him all he wanted, but unfortunately, when three months ended, he chased me away with the money in my hand. Some people are really heartless. To me, he has no difference with the cancer that claimed the dear life of my sister. Fortunately, my landlord’s neighbour who has studied me and found me a good person to stay with, gave me a house with an affordable payment.

This is the house I have been renting until yesterday when Juba City Council gave me a one-day ultimatum to evacuate it following the order that it had fallen on the road. Before I got done with evacuation, the caterpillar car landed on my house, burying some of my valuable belongings unevacuated. The only thing I could afford was a smile as armed police officers, with sun-setting eyes, were deployed on either side of the house being demolished. A bullet might land on my head if I opened my mouth to say anything.

My belongings are currently outside and no other plot of land is yet shown to me to shift to, and the same case applies to others whose houses are demolished too. It seems like it is up to me to go to wherever I like. The weather forecast has hinted to me that it will possibly rain tomorrow and neither the Juba City Council has promised me nor did I get a house to rent. As I pray to God for a rainless week, I too pray for a house to rent.  As a young man living on hope and only hope, I console myself that houses for sale/rent are still gotten in America today and imagine, how old is America, compared to the youngest nation, South Sudan? However long it may take me to own a house, I will surely own it.

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