The Tow Away – Short Stories Week

Happy Friday. Today’s short story is courtesy of Wamathai.com. A story by the name The Tow Away.

The Tow Away
by Awuor Attyang
Hot, stinging tears trickled down her face. She put her hands behind her head and scanned the small crowd that had gathered to witness her predicament. All had been well; a serene afternoon of household shopping at the local supermarket had turned into a nightmare. After two hours of shopping, Atieno walked back to her car accompanied by one of the supermarket’s attendants, only to find it missing. She was a bit startled and maybe attributed a bad memory to the absence of her car. Where could she have left it? The guard, a tall, robust and dark man, who had been manning the vicinity, walked up to her and began to explain himself. He narrated to her how a man of Asian descent facilitated the whole process of having her car towed away. He emphasized on how he unceasingly begged them to at least contact the owner of the motor vehicle. They wouldn’t listen and he was left completely helpless.

Short Story Week Review

A woman sticks to her principles and gets punished for it. There is so much to read into this short story. She’s trying hard to live her life, but there is that one guy who wants to give her a hard time for refusing him. It brings such focus to some of the things women endure in our society. And also brings out the strength of her will.

The School – Short Stories Week

So today, I’m late with the day’s short story, but that’s because I’ve been hanging at NPR.org. in their readings section. So much to read. Today’s short story is called The School by Donald Barthelme.

The School
from
Sixty Stories
by Donald Barthelme

One day, we had a discussion in class. They asked me, where did they go? The trees, the salamander, the tropical fish, Edgar, the poppas and mommas, Matthew and Tony, where did they go? And I said, I don’t know, I don’t know. And they said, who knows? and I said, nobody knows. And they said, is death that which gives meaning to life? And I said no, life is that which gives meaning to life. Then they said, but isn’t death, considered as a fundamental datum, the means by which the taken-for-granted mundanity of the everyday may be transcended in the direction of –
I said, yes, maybe.
They said, we don’t like it.
I said, that’s sound.
They said, it’s a bloody shame!
I said, it is.
They said, will you make love now with Helen (our teaching assistant) so that we can see how it is done? We know you like Helen.
I do like Helen but I said that I would not.
We’ve heard so much about it, they said, but we’ve never seen it.
I said I would be fired and that it was never, or almost never, done as a demonstration. Helen looked out the window.
They said, please, please make love with Helen, we require an assertion of value, we are frightened.

I said that they shouldn’t be frightened (although I am often frightened) and that there was value everywhere. Helen came and embraced me. I kissed her a few times on the brow. We held each other. The children were excited. Then there was a knock on the door, I opened the door, and the new gerbil walked in. The children cheered wildly.

Short Story Week Review

    Why did I choose this story? The quote above is the largest reason why I chose this story. The teacher in this story summarizes the things that happen in the year. All surrounding death or a similar ending, all of it going wrong, and once you read it, the thought is that these guys have bad karma, or something is wrong for it to go so wrong. But then at the end, this teacher is the figure of strength, and reason for the children. The one who must teach them that despite the terrible things, they must go on and keep facing the future. And of course never giving up, as the new gerbil they’re about to take care of, comes into their class. There was a lot of thought in this story, definitely a realistic view of life and the cycle it takes.

Within An Inch of Heaven – Short Stories Week

I found this third feature through Story Zetu.  Bunmi has a website full of his short stories and as always I had a great time reading through them, in search of that one which caught my attention.  The story I chose is called: Within An Inch of Heaven.  Below, is a short excerpt;
Within An Inch of Heaven
by Bunmi

The driver had just turned the key in the ignition when a man rose at the back of the bus with a revving ‘Prrrrrrrrr-aisedaLohd!’

In response, somebody laid out a good, deep fart — this blessed fellow was kind enough to spread it, with practised flourish, over a quarter of a minute, in measured detonations.

I was hugely impressed! ‘The Lord is good,’ a madman cracked. ‘All the time!’ a few high-spirited ones chorused; while others contributed evil chuckles to the occasion.

Undeterred by the stink that had now possessed the entire bus like an evil spirit, a murmur that had to be either curses or pentecostal tongues tumbled from the preacher’s tight mouth, spilling into the bush of his big biblical beard and disappearing… He rifled through his burden of a bible — ‘In the book of Jedidiah, my bible tells me that —’

A quick mouth told him something else, ‘Book of Jedi-daya nor dey my own bible sah.’

‘Your own bible.’ The preacher looked up from his bible, and down at the offender. ‘You have a bible there?’

The reply was a wave of ‘Lolly’, a local pornographic comic-rag, which was greeted with approving guffaws.

Just as our preaching friend broke into a ‘Blessed is the man that —’, another man, determined to seek his own blessings by less tedious means, rose at the front and began handing out worn brown envelopes that read: NIGERIA SOCIETY OF DEAF & DUMBS. I NEED YOUR HELP….

Short Story Week Review

This story was amusing and it rang true for me in more ways than I can explain.  Riding on a bus not too long ago, I was treated to an encounter with one of the preachers who preach in the vehicles, most times I don’t pay them any mind, as long as they leave me alone.  But this one day, the guy who was preaching, went out of his way to make sure he got everyone’s attention.  Talking about women and how they’ve lost their way, dressing how they want, talking how they want.  Now, I know our society is riddled with those who still have traditional views, and I can take a little, okay, a tiny, tiny bit of hating for not following the traditionalist ways.  That’s okay, just don’t shove it down my throat when you’re trying to get your head in the game early in the morning.  Most likely you’ll get to town and the things you were going to do there, end being harder.  So, this preacher annoyed me, and I wanted to leave the bus, but I didn’t.  I stayed, and gave him a mean eye when he came around to get his ‘tithe’ after he preached in the bus.  I kept wondering if we’re the only ones who get treated to such crazy situations in buses.

This story gave me another perspective and the ending is quite fitting since my sentiments fit those of the passengers at the end. Which makes me wonder about myself, really….lol.

This is a great story.  Great writing Bunmi.

Drop by Bunmi’s website and leave him a comment.

 

 

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.

 

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

I Dream of You – Free Story

I dream of youe

I Dream of You

by Elly Kamari

Summary:

Janet Kerira has been dating Timothy for a year and a half and he’s never told he loves her. On Valentine’s Day, she spends the day worrying because Timothy hasn’t called her for four days. He left on an assignment four days ago and hasn’t called, messaged or even emailed her once. Even with her concerns that their relationship is fading away, she can’t help but worry about Timothy’s safety, and hopes that the magic of Valentine’s Day will bring him back to her.

Download it for Free

 

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here is a short story.  Have a read, let me know what you think of it.

Related Stories:

More free reads

Choose Me – by Dora Okeyo

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?

My Nairobi, My City : Bright Kyadiva

Mr. Bright Kyadiva is the the Coordinator of Phanicey Charitable Foundation.  An organization  committed to improving lives of the poor and the vulnerable (particularly women and youth) in social, cultural and political settings by creating an enabling environment for their participation in community development.

Phanicey Medical camp, photo courtesy of Phanicey Charitable Foundation

PCF runs different programs in the community, all of them focused on initiating a number of development programs on water, health, education, agriculture and environment.  PCF has run successful medical camps and ran Life Skills training programs in rural and marginalized areas.

 
I caught up with Mr. Bright Kyadiva and was happy when he took the time to answer my questions and here’s a glimpse of his Nairobi.

Name: Bright Kyadiva
Occupation:  Coordinator, PCF

Elly in Nairobi: What part of Nairobi do you call Home?

Mr. Kyadiva: Kibera

Elly in Nairobi:Tell us about what you do?  For example what you do working with Phanicey Charitable Foundation (PCF)

Mr. Kyadiva: PCF is a charitable/humanitarian organization and myself I like challenges in life, to make life better. I decided to offer my expertise through such an umbrella organization to reach the vulnerable and less fortunate in the society especially slum areas.

Elly in Nairobi:Were you born in Nairobi?  If not, tell us where you were born and why you moved to Nairobi.

Mr. Kyadiva:I was born in Vihiga County, and raised in Nairobi. My parents (Dad) was working in Nairobi by then and by chance we happen to live in Town to date

Elly in Nairobi:  Describe your Nairobi.  The people you meet, help, have fun with, your work place, or home area…What makes your Nairobi?

Mr. Kyadiva:Nairobi people are very conservative depending with the area you’re living in. I have managed to intermingle with few of my neighbors,many of them are my church members and selective friends I’ve met both at work and profession.

Elly in Nairobi: What is your favorite place/spot in Nairobi city?

Mr. Kyadiva: Ongata Rongai farms and Kitengela.  It’s green and peaceful, with fresh air

Elly in Nairobi:      How have the experiences you’ve gone through in Nairobi affected you?  Why do you work with Phanicey Charitable Foundation? 

Mr. Kyadiva: My experience in Nairobi has made me aggressive and made me think outside the box in order to make a living. I work with PCF to reach many by creating a just and poverty free society as per the mission and vision of PCF.

Elly in Nairobi:How do you feel about your fellow Nairobians?

Mr. Kyadiva: Nairobians are very industrious, hardworking and innovative in business

Elly in Nairobi:     What is the best thing about Nairobi?  What is the worst?

Mr. Kyadiva:You can live anywhere in Nairobi, buy anything within your budget limits but it’s also not easy to live in Nairobi without liquid cash; There are insecurity worries and it limits people’s movement – a 24hr economy is jeopardized.

Elly in Nairobi:Tell us more about Phanicey Charitable Foundation and its place in the Nairobi City.  What is your vision?

Mr. Kyadiva: PCF is working with youth groups who are legally registered, improving their livelihoods, Youth reaching their fellow peers to change Nairobi County

Elly in Nairobi:  What would you tell others about your Nairobi?

Mr. Kyadiva: It’s a modern beautiful city in the sun, only one in the world with a walk-in national park, vibrant commercially, despite the few insecurity incidents; me & you can make it safer.

To learn more about the Phanicey Charitable Organization, check out their website below.  They’re always working on projects with youth, and helping young children in need.

Website: Phanicey Charitable Foundation

Twitter: @phaniceykenya

Facebook Page: Phanicey Charitable Foundation

Youtube Channel: Phanicey Foundation

Follow them on Twitter, and Like their page.

Nairobi International Trade Fair 2013

The Nairobi International Trade Fair is a yearly event held in Nairobi during the first week of October.  I missed it last  year, but this year, we decided to go for a visit.  The entry fee was Kshs. 300/-, a lot of security checks at the entrance, everybody is wary of insecurity.

Visiting the International show

When I was a kid, I’d visit the grounds for the fun, riding on the merry-go-round and cotton candy.  This time, we headed straight to the agriculture section.  Strange how things change as you grow older.  We walked through neatly arranged patches, marveling at the extraordinarily sizes of the cabbage, kales and spinach.  I have  yet to grow any kales or spinach with leaves as big as they have, but I can have a dream.

Photo1807Photo1806

Since we went on a Friday, the place was crowded with school children.  Parents had also brought their kids.  A few got to ride camels, such gentle creatures.

kids riding a camelWe bought seeds to take home.  They always have the best seeds at the trade fair.  On our trails in the numerous stalls, we found a stand with gorgeous handcrafted crafts.  I had to take a picture of the bags, and the sculptures.

Awesome handcrafted bagsMore handcrafted crafts

This duck was so beautiful, pristine white and primping.  When I took her picture, she gave me a bored eye.  Hmm…I think she’d had enough of picture taking.

Duck giving me the eye

The best part was meeting some Llamas.  I’ve never understood these creatures, but they’re so gentle.  It was nice to be up close and personal with three of them.

llamasThe sun was high, we walked until we got dusty and tired.  This is me and my brother taking a break for a few minutes.   I had a good time, we went home with a bundle of seeds that we’re going to try and sprout. 

Feet got tired, we sat

 

My Nairobi, My City – Brian Kamari

Brian chillin'On the second My Nairobi, My city, I asked my little brother to participate.  Yes, I’m starting close to home, figured that was the best way to jump into this project.  Brian Kamari was born and lives in Nairobi. I caught up with him when we went to the Nairobi International Trade Fair (or the Show) and I pestered him into talking about his views on Nairobi.   He describes himself as unique, and definitely loves living in this lovely city of ours.

Elly in Nairobi: Describe your Nairobi?  How do you see Nairobi from your perspective?

Brian: My Nairobi is unique.  I have a plan to develop where I’m staying and because of that plan, every morning I wake up, I find something to do and make sure it’s finished by the time the sun comes down.

Elly in Nairobi: What is your favorite place/ spot in Nairobi city?

Brian: My home, I love it because it’s the place where I can be most myself.

Elly in Nairobi: How would you describe yourself in Nairobi city?

Brian: When I’m in Nairobi, I’m one part of a grand mosaic.  When I walk along the streets of Nairobi, the people who walk past me all have dreams, their own unique qualities; we are brought together in this one city.  Each of us makes Nairobi, in our own unique way.  If you were to stand above the city, you’d see a mosaic of different people, and I’m one part of that big picture.

Elly in Nairobi: What feeling does Nairobi give you?

Brian: I feel hope.  Hopeful because I believe what I choose to do, (farming, building, and business) will succeed and live on to the next generation.  Nairobi is growing, spreading out her wings.  And to be part of that growth is exciting and I’m full of anticipation.

Elly in Nairobi: How do you feel about your fellow Nairobians?

Brian: That we are all so similar yet so different.  What do I mean by that?  We’re all living in Nairobi.  When it comes to business or shopping, we’re looking for the best deal, working toward living a good life.  In that, we’re similar, but we’re also different.  I’m different in my attitude.  My perspective is different because of my experiences.  How I look at things is not the same as the next person even my own family members.

Elly in Nairobi: What is the best thing about Nairobi? What is the Worst?

Brian: The Best is the Energetic People and Culture.  As a Nairobian, I have to say we really get into things.  Football (soccer), rugby, political rallies, haggling for the lowest price in the market, we are passionate and jump in with all our hearts.

The Worst thing is also the energetic people and culture.  I think we’re too curious and easily excited.  When there is something major going on, like a big fire or dangerous situation, like a riot, we run to the scene even though having a crowd stops those helping, police, fire fighters from doing their job.

Elly in Nairobi: Tell us more about where you live and how that has changed your view of the city?

Brian: I live on the outskirts of the city, in a place I can only describe as paradise.  We have so many trees and plants growing around our house, the birds have moved in.  SoGorgeous trees and flowers when you wake up in the morning you’ll hear them singing.  A friend came to visit once and heard them, and asked us if we had a background recording.  I smiled because those birds living out there make my home so unique.  These outskirts of the city are what I think are the best part.  It takes me forty-five minutes to get to the main Nairobi city, so I think it gives me the best of both worlds, and has only improved on my positivity on Nairobi.

Elly in Nairobi: What would you tell others about your Nairobi?

Brian: Nairobi ni Kali! (Nairobi is tough) You have to be stronger.

So, there you have it, a new perspective of Nairobi.  Next week, there will be more interviews to come, new views. Next, a trip to the Nairobi International Trade Fair.