Story Zetu/ Fatima- Short Stories Week

Today, I feature a blog by the name Story Zetu where I discovered a variety of short stories that left me breathless, amused, and thoughtful.  I stumbled on it when I was researching Spoken Word Events in Nairobi, and got hooked by the short stories and the views of the writers at Story Zetu.  The blog as a whole deserves a visit and exploration from you.  I chose one of the short stories available by name of Fatima for the Short Stories Week Feature.

Fatima

by Hellen Masido

Photo courtesy of story zetu
Photo courtesy of story zetu

The dusty terrain became more and more beige as the sun rose higher across the vast landscape of sand and scanty acacia. They were here. Ahmed sat up straighter, his aching back cracking in relief. They drove past the first of many white tents that stretched on either side of the bus windows. Dadaab.

Ahmed squinted as the white triangles increased and expanded and with the bus going so fast, he begun feeling dizzy so he sat back and took a deep breath. This was his destination for the second time round. He didn’t like to remember the first time. This second time however, he had everything planned to the last minute detail because there was no room for a slip.

And now here he was; executing what he had been planning for years! He should be thrilled but he felt sick. Now that he was here, the reality of what he was about to do sunk in his tummy like a blob of excess green bile.

 

Short Stories Week Review

This story caught my attention and wouldn’t let go.  Ahmed and Chris are volunteering at the Dadaab camp for three weeks, but Ahmed is also at the camp to find a young woman named Fatima.  He  promised her he’d come back for her, but he is seven years late.  The question Ahmed has is whether he can find Fatima, and if he does, will she agree to the plan he’s hatched to get her out?

I love the scenery Ms. Masido invokes in this tale, and I’d love to see what else Ahmed has been up to since he’s arrived at the camp.  And has he found Fatima?  What about Chris who has a great sense of humor in the face of Ahmed’s anxiety.  This story is unique, and refreshing, and that makes it all the more reason to keep watching out for more.  It tackles a topic currently top on everyone’s mind.  The reality of illegal immigrants, Fighting for Freedom and the reality faced by refugees from war torn regions.  I’d love to read more of the story and find out the struggles Ahmed faces in finding his Fatima.

Drop a line for Hellen Masido, tell her what you thought about her story Fatima. Or follow her on twitter @Hellenmasido

There are many more stories available at Story Zetu each one with its own unique qualities.

Visit the blog for a buffet of short stories, and Follow the Blog, show your support.

 

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21 Days – Short Stories Week

21 Days

by Dora Okeyo

I found him on the first day. He was walking towards my table at the restaurant. The place was full except for the seat beside me. I cringed at the thought of sharing my table with someone, worse off a guy. What if I chewed too loudly?”

Zora met Jack on the first day.
Jack met her on the second day.

Their romance is a countdown of dates with each telling their own version of what they found from the other on each day.
Question is: Will they keep each other at the end of it all?

Short Stories Week Review

This story is written in chronological order, Day One all the way to Day Twenty-One.  Ms. Okeyo writes out a story told between two individuals who meet quite by luck at a restaurant, and who then get to know each other.  The main characters, Zora and Jack, tell the story from their perspectives, moving from the shyness and jitters of the first meet in a relationship, to hurt emotions created by misunderstandings, and then the getting to know each other better part.  However, Jack keeps a huge secret, that is subtly hinted at by Zora’s friends and those who know Zora.  When it finally comes to light, it breaks them apart, but the reasons why Zora decides to call it quits have a lot to do with trust, and not the secret itself.

This story rang true for me because of the experiences I’ve seen friends go through.  When you’re getting to know someone, it never is what he’s done in the past, but whether he trusted you enough to tell you about that past.  Giving you the chance to make your own choice, instead of making the choice for you, because of how you’ll react or what you’ll think.  It was nice to read a relationship from such a perspective.  Love can exist in different forms.

Please have a read of this story that is readily available on Smashwords on this link : 21 Days

About Dora Okeyo

Visit her blog : Dora Jodie

Dora’s facebook page: Dora Okeyo

Follow her on Twitter: @herhar

Drumbeats : Romance Novels set in East Africa

I’ve read romance novels since I was old enough.  I used to steal my mom’s stash of weekly stories from reader’s digest, so old, I don’t think they publish them anymore.  Then it was the high school romance books; from Sweet Valley High series, Mills & Boon, Harlequin Romance, graduating to authors such as Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Johanna Lindsay, Christine Feehan and others. My bookshelf tells a story of a love for romance that grows with time.  So much so, that I have delved into writing myself, wanting to create heroes and heroines that will resonate with the people around me.

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, it’s been tough to find any books set in my city, with characters living the life I’ve known, going through experiences in a setting I understand.  My city is full of culture: a culture that gives so much color to life,  I’ve always thought that romance stories written with characters in my region would be exciting to read.  Last year, I ran across a blog post / call for submissions by Storymoja.  It was a query for stories set in East Africa, romance stories meant to meet the same genre found in my favorite Mills & Boon, or a Harlequin Romance.  I was excited and thrilled, so much so, I submitted my own story to them late December. (Here’s my hope that I’ll get a response from them. ^_^) Lol.  My hope aside, Storymoja has released an exciting series of stories called Drumbeats.

I have gotten the chance to read a few of them.  I have to say, I’m so privileged to share Romance stories written by East Africans for East Africans.  Here are some of the titles that are now available as E-books on Amazon.

 

Best Laid Plans

by  Vaishnavi Ram Mohan

Roshni thought she had her life in perfect control. Everything was as she’d planned it, including her engagement to long-time friend Shiv. But a series of unplanned encounters in the unpredictable Nairobi traffic with Nyagah changed everything. Nyagah was the opposite of everything Roshni thought she’d want in a man. So why did he make her heart race? Why did she look forward to their meetings more than anything? What was it about him that made her defy all her rules? And why was she toying with the idea of breaking off her engagement to the perfect-match, family-approved Indian man and hooking up with a Kenyan man whom she knew only from a few traffic-jam meetings? This is an urban love story set in contemporary Nairobi.

Available on Amazon, Get it Now!

This story quickly became my favorite.  First it’s set in Nairobi, second, a culture crash was in the offing, lots of stereotypes to get through for Roshni and Nyagah.  Roshni is so orderly, and straight-laced, her relationship with Nyagah starts off to a smashing start, I couldn’t stop reading it.

HEAVEN ON EARTH

By Hilda Gathanga

Caroline was finally getting her life on the right track. She had a thriving tours business, great family and friends and was happily single. In fact, men were the last thing on her agenda. Until handsome Andrew walked into her office, and the unthinkable happened: she fell in love with one of her clients! But can Caroline risk everything she has worked for and give into the charms of Andrew? Can she put her trust in his promises of heaven on earth? And does she dare entrust her heart to a man once again, especially one who has a very odd philosophy about dating and relationships?

Available on Amazon Get it Now!

This story is also set in Nairobi. I loved the progress of budding love, those first moments you’re so shy and unsure, to the end where decisions have to be made as the relationship strengthens and becomes something the heroine can’t live without.  Beautiful story.

STUCK TOGETHER

By Vaishnavi Ram Mohan

Alisha Oketch’s worst nightmares come true when circumstances force her to move in with Alexander Bonaparte Obanda. She’s fun-loving, wild and carefree. Alexander Bonaparte, her dictatorial flatmate, is prim and proper, super-organised and in Alisha’s opinion, super-annoying. Arguments and fights follow as their polar-opposite personalities collide. Yet, somewhere amidst the squabbling, a romance begins to blossom between the two. So, can two strangers stuck together really find love with each other? This is a humorous romance set in a Nairobi college campus.

This one is on my To Read List…very promising, and I like the way Ms. Mohan writes.

Available on Amazon Get it Now

CRANES CREST AT SUNSET

By Dilman Dila

Kabita, a beautiful Nepali doctor escapes from an arranged marriage to serve in a remote village in rural Uganda. In this village, she hopes to put to rest the haunting memories of her forbidden love and shattered past. But the peace she so desperately seeks seems elusive now, as she finds herself falling in love with Steven, a handsome African herdsman. Is she foolish to reject the advances of a fellow doctor for an idle herdsman painter? And is Steven really what he seems to be? Should she follow her heart or mind? Will Kabita finally find joy or will her dreams be shattered again? This is an intense love story set in rural Uganda.

Available on Amazon, Get it Now!

I love the poetry in this story, from the first line to the end, there is love for the village in the author’s words, so much so, it shines in Kabita’s every description.  It was easy to get lost in this one too.

So, the books above are a small taste of Nairobi, and a setting in rural Uganda, written with such poetic words, it was easy to fall in love.  I can’t wait to see what other titles Drumbeats produce.  Great Job, Storymoja Editors!

What are you reading?

I Love You this Much – Dora Okeyo

I Love You This Much

by Dora Okeyo

Summary:

Leila is alive and in-love with Maxwell; but he’s only some memory, or is he? Nancy loves William. He doesn’t love her though, because he is not the same-not since the accident; and all four are tangled in a web, one that’s created by one of them, will love their love endure?

My Review:

Reading this story was like walking down the streets of Nairobi, meeting people and finding out a bit about their lives.  An exploration behind the stranger seated at the next table sipping coffee while they read through their newspaper.  I loved Leila’s attitude, and how easy it is for her to stand for her beliefs. She is strong and also vulnerable as well. I loved how well Dora describes Leila’s life.  She hangs out with the guys at the club, and also makes the best girlfriend for Nancy.  Nancy describes Leila best, “….She told William one day that if I was a man, she’d get married to me. When Maxwell heard this he nearly broke all the glasses in his house….”

Nancy’s description made me laugh. Often times, you’ll meet a guy,  you like his temperament, and obviously you’re clicking, and you think, this could work.  Two dates, and he decides that as long as you’re not seeing him with the goal of marriage, the relationship is a waste of time. I thought marriage should be about friendship first?  If we can’t even have friendship, how do you jump straight to marriage? I think that’s why I loved Leila’s attitude in this story. Her determination not to compromise who she is and what she’s about.

This is a story about friendship and love, and the struggle to find a balance in this Nairobi city.  In the end, we’re all just wishing for the one to share a happy live aren’t we?

The ending is a fabulous twist best for you to find out when you read this story.

I Love You This Much is available on Smashwords.com for free.

Visit Dora Okeyo’s blog to read more about her.

Download it for your Kindle or Adobe Reader Here.

Do you have a book that needs a review?  Feel free to message me.  Email: ellyinnairobi@gmail.com.