This is the story of a modern Cinderella. Zawadi is the daughter of a wealthy man, but she is the maid. Her stepmother takes advantage of the fact that her father is not in the country to mistreat her. Here is where the story starts. Find part 2, part 3 and part 4.
Zawadi was lying on the plush white carpet with her sketching pad. She was sketching some African print design clothes. In the background, Rafik’s new album was playing. Zawadi took a sip of her juice that she had placed on a stool just next to where she was lying. She didn’t want to accidentally pour juice on the carpet. After all, she would be the one who would have to spend hours cleaning it up. The carpet was very expensive and Madam did not want to see even the smallest speck of dust on it.
Thinking of Madam Asila, Zawadi sighed. Madam and her two daughters had gone to Dubai for the annual Dubai shopping festival. They would come home with lots of new clothes and then give some of their old clothes to charity. They refused to give Zawadi any of their clothes. They said it would be too embarrassing for them to see Zawadi wearing anything of theirs.
Zawadi usually bought her clothes in Gikomba and Toi. When she went off on Sunday she usually went shopping with some of the maids in the area to Gikomba. But when she was in college she would go to Toi with her friends from design school. She would stretch her funds in order to get what she needed. It was possible for her to look good, with the clothes she bought second hand. She was currently wearing some black shorts, a red tank top covered by a white lace top with black dots. All of that had cost her 100 bob but she looked like a million dollars.
Zawadi’s father usually gave out an allowance for her. But guess who managed the money, Madam Asila. Madam didn’t give her the allowance. She made her work as a maid for it and then she didn’t even give her all of it. She removed money for food and for housing her. This left Zawadi with little money.
Zawadi couldn’t wait to finish college. The three years she had spent in this house had taught her about the capacity of human beings to be cruel. Madam Asila and her daughters had been bad to Zawadi, sometimes even evil. When she had first started living there for six months Madam Asila had made her eat the same food that she gave their dogs. She told her she was a dog anyway, coming to beg for food.
Zawadi only had three months left of college. She was actually working on the signature pieces of her collection. When she graduated she intended to get far away from this house and her stepmother and sisters. Her father may not have known what was going on but she was bitter with him because he should have been there to protect her.
Zawadi was currently working on the signature dress for her collection. It was a red and black dress made out of Ghanaian African fabric. She had been saving up for the fabric. She had been paying a tailor she knew some money every month to keep for her the fabric. She was going to be the model for her collection at the graduation show. She knew she had to come up with something spectacular that would blow the judges minds.
Zawadi was concentrating at the moment on the front of the dress. She was drawing different designs of how she wanted the top half to look like. When the doorbell rang it startled her. She wasn’t expecting any visitors to the house.
She went to the door, peeped through the spy hole, and saw a handsome stranger she had never seen before. Zawadi wasn’t worried because he would have to have been let in by the watchman. She thought this might be one of her step sister’s friends who did not know that they had gone to Dubai.
She opened the door and said, “good afternoon. How many I help you?” just the way Madam had taught her to say it.
The guy on the other side of the door was looking at her in that way men always did. She did not understand it, why men stared at her. For a minute the man just looked at her.
Zawadi waited for him to state his business. She knew she was beautiful. Men passing her even on the street told her that. But that didn’t get to her head. Her mother had been the most beautiful girl in the village and look at the trouble that got her into. Her beauty was not something she exploited. The girls in college told her she could get any man she wanted with her looks and that if she wanted they could get her a rich boyfriend who would provide her with everything she would need. Then she would stop being broke. She hadn’t told them that she had a rich father although she worked as a maid. She just told them that she lived with relatives in Runda. Only her two best friends in school knew that.
Finally, the guy snapped out of his preoccupation with her beauty. He had a black expensive motorbike parked on the driveway. He cleared his throat and said, “Hi.”
Zawadi said, “hi.”
“My name is Eric.” There was a bag slung across his shoulder. “I have been given cards to bring over for Rafik’s party happening in 3 weeks. Each person has their own personal invitation. I need the names of the people to invite so that I can write them on the cards. “
Zawadi gave him the names of Madam Asila and her two daughters. He wrote the names down on three cards.
Eric smiled and asked, “so are you Zosi or Zuwadia?”
Zawadi shook her head and said, “My name is Zawadi!”
Eric asked, “Zawadi you are not coming to the party?”
Zawadi said, “no! I am not really part of the family. I…”
Eric didn’t let her finish. “How can the most beautiful girl I have ever met not attend the party? You must come. I insist.” He took out another card and wrote Zawadi’s name. “Here is your invitation. Make sure you come. Remember to save a dance for me.” Eric winked as he gave her the invitations.
Zawadi held the invitations to her chest as she watched Eric ride off on his bike. She entered the house then did a happy dance. She was going to Rafik’s party. OMG, she was going to Rafik’s party. Then reality hit and she was like, “how will I go and I have nothing to wear?” Then she also realized that she had another problem. How would she go to the party when Madam Asila and her daughters would be going to the party?
Find part 6 here.