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.


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.



Pink Bows and High heels – 1

“You’re going to end up alone if you don’t go out, Carol.”

Jackie Njoki complained posing dramatically in the middle of their hostel room.  Dressed in a short red skirt with a sleeveless red top that clung to her perfect figure, she was ready for a night out.

“Come on, get dressed.”

“I have a paper to finish.”

Carol lifted her psychology text-book and pushed up her reading glasses on her nose.  She was struggling through a ten page essay on Freud.  She’d been reading through the same chapter for two hours now, and inspiration was firmly floating above her head.

Jackie came to her reading desk and pointed a blood-red finger nail at her blinking cursor.

“That’s not going to move today.  You’ve had a blank page on that screen for two hours.  Come out with me.  We’re going to Will’s house.  There’s an awesome party and Alex will be there.”

“Alex.” Carol sighed.  Her heart skipped a merry beat.

She was a second year at the Nairobi University and the only things she’d managed to love about being away from home was Jackie, her other friend Annie Omitto and handsome Alexander ‘Alex’ Maina.  Alex was six feet two, had dark chocolate eyes and owned the perfect smile she’d ever seen.  He was a fourth year engineering student.  And lived off campus in what she could only call a party house because of the amount of drinking that happened daily.

She’d always loved the idea of being his girlfriend, but he tended to hang out with the tall, long-legged chicks from wealthy estates.  Carol cursed her short figure for the millionth time.  Alex only talked to her because they were both in French class.  Come to think of it, she hadn’t seen him there yesterday.

“I have class at eight tomorrow morning, Jackie.  If we go, we have to leave before twelve.”

“Now you’re talking.” Jackie clapped excited her bangles jingling.  “I’ll make sure you get home on time, Cinderella.”

“I’m not kidding.”  Carol stood and stretched her arms above her head with a groan.  “Gosh, I shouldn’t listen to you.  If I was sane, I’d stay here and finish the stupid Psych paper.”

“It’s Friday night, Alex is free for the night, you like Alex.  Sane means going out with me to this party and hanging out with him.”

Carol groaned as she rushed to their shared closet.  A thrill of anticipation already creeping in as she reached for a royal blue dress she’d bought a week ago.

“Wear the pink one, it looks good on you.”  Jackie sat on her bed and grinned.  “You have to look hot gal.”

They laughed as she stripped out of her t-shirt and pajama pants.

It took thirty minutes to get her legs shaved, her hair brushed into a flattering style and her lip gloss on.  Another five to find her phone, purse and make sure she had enough money.  Jackie was on the phone with Annie when she finally decided on the sandals she was going to wear.

“Annie is waiting for us at G.P.O.  We can go get food and take a mat to South C.”

“Sounds like a plan.”  Carol grabbed a thin pink sweater from her bed and followed Jackie out of their room.

It took them ten minutes to walk through Serena Park to the G.P.O bus stop.  Even though it was already getting dark, the air was warm and the city filled with people.  Nairobi was rarely empty on Friday nights.

Jackie talked nonstop through their short walk to the bus stop.  They found Annie waiting patiently.  Jackie gave her a short hug and tugged at her braids.

“I can’t believe you still have the patience to sit through getting these on your head.”

Annie rolled her eyes and turned to her.  “We’re not all like you, Jackie.  Weaves are itchy and I don’t have long hair like Carol.”

“You look pretty.”  Carol smiled hugging Annie tightly.  She’d known Annie longer than Jackie since they’d gone to the same high school.  “How was internship?”

“A pain,” Annie said as she pulled back.  “I spend my time being a mail girl and arranging files.  I’m never going to learn anything about accounting at this rate.”

“They’re just treating you like that coz you’re starting out.”  Jackie assured her.  “I’m starving, can we talk about this on the way to Caprice.”

“I can’t believe you actually managed to drag Carol out of the hostel.”  Annie teased as they headed toward their favorite fast food restaurant.


A Sardine in a Delicatessen Store

She walked briskly along her street headed home.  She was late; it was almost nine o’clock, the night pitch black, the street lights barely lighting her way.  Hands folded tight against her chest, she bit her lip and trudged along the uneven path leading to the farm house.  She cursed bureaucracies for the umpteenth time today.  Trying to find a job in this ridiculous economy was akin to a guerrilla war.  Men in suits ambushing your character when you least expect it, she closed her eyes in frustration.  She wished her old job would pay her severance, two more days and she was going to be poorer than a church mouse.  She’d be happy to have even ten shillings for fare to get to the next interview.

There was no way to tell if she’d gotten the job she’d interviewed for this afternoon.  The suits in charge had played hard ball, warning the group of interviewees that some of them wouldn’t get picked.  A painful pang swept through her and she prayed for luck.  She prayed…her walk slowed, she wondered if her god was listening.  Berating herself for wavering, she continued her brisk walk and prayed in earnest.  Just maybe…she would get the job.

She finally got to the farm’s green gate.  It was Monday, her day to make dinner.  She locked the gate with a sigh.  She’d promised she’d be home earlier.  Obviously, that hadn’t gone so well.  Her brothers would be giving her a lecture.  She slowed down on the short walk to the house.  Stopping at the front door, she took in a deep bracing breathe, preparing herself for a lecture.  She opened the door, removed her shoes, and gave a small gasp when she glanced up.

A cheerful atmosphere filled the living room, and beyond that, the dining table was laden with delicious foods.  The scent of roast meat  filled her nostrils and her stomach rumbled in appreciation.  Her older brother rushed to her and hugging her in greeting.  He smiled wide, picking her up and twirling her around.  He told her he was happy she was home and led her to the living room.  Her younger brother pressed a fresh cup of coffee into her hand.  The lecture she’d feared never came.  When she sat at the dinner table to eat with her brothers, her father brought her an envelope from her previous employer.  She opened it with a frown having given up on receiving her severance pay from that company.  She was surprised as a sardine that went to sleep in the ocean and woke up in a delicatessen store when she pulled out a check.  Her severance money, she smiled in elation.  Maybe her God was listening after all, she decided.  There was hope.