This is the story of a modern Cinderella. Zawadi is the daughter of a wealthy man, but she is the maid. Her step mother 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, part 4 and part 5.
Zawadi was caught in a dilemma. She really wanted to go for the party but on the other hand she had two problems. 1. She had nothing to wear. 2. The biggest problem was Madam Asila and her daughter. They would be attending the ball. How could she attend it?
Zawadi took out her mobile phone, a Nokia 3310 and called her best friend Angelica. When Angelica answered the phone Zawadi explained everything.
Angelica was ecstatic. “Zawadi you must go. You will never get another opportunity like this and Rafik is dreamy. This is your chance to finally go to the type of parties you were meant to go with.”
Zawadi said “Angelica I have nothing to wear. I don’t have the clothes, shoes, or bags needed. Besides which how will I get to the party. I don’t have a car. Nobody will walk there besides which Madam Asila …”
Angelica said “leave everything to me. How far along are you with making your dress for the final presentation?”
Zawadi said ‘you will see. Are you home right now?”
Zawadi said yes. Angelica said she was coming over.
2 hours later Angelica was at her house with a big bag. She removed shoes and purses out of the bag. She made Zawadi try them on. One particular pair of shoes fit her perfectly. It was gold in colour and it would go well with a red and gold clutch bag that she liked.
Angelica told her the plan. “You need to have your dress done by this week. I know it was for the finals but you can wear it for both. We only have one week to be ball and we don’t have the time to buy a new dress.”
Zawadi tried to argue about using the dress but Angelica was very persuasive. Zawadi went to the tailor to give out the designs of the clothes she wanted made. She had 3 designs, one for the signature piece for her collection and 2 other outfits.
One piece of fabric which was supposed to be a headdress she carried with her. She needed to embroider it while the rest of the dress which was being made. 3 days later she went for the signature dress. She would have to do all the embroidery herself by hand.
Madam Asila and the girls came back two days before the party. They had bought expensive gowns, shoes, and bags for the party. Zawadi wondered how she would look in her designs. She was still not convinced that this was a great idea. Angelica had promised that she would get her a ride from her rich boyfriend to drop her at the ball.
Zawadi talked to the watchmen. The servants at the house really adored Zawadi. They all knew she was the illegitimate daughter of the boss. They all felt sorry for her. They watched out for her when they could. They all knew how Madam Asila could be cruel. They agreed to open the gate for Zawadi after her step mum and sisters were gone.
The two sisters were cruel. They made Zawadi watch them after they tried dress after dress and shoes. They told her how a silly village girl like her would never have a chance to meet somebody as important as Rafik. He was the prince of musicians, the hottest artist for the last 3 years. He was handsome and rich.
“Zawadi, you may be dad’s daughter but you will never go anywhere. When you finish your course then what will you become. A tailor. Who would want to be designed for clothes by a maid?”
They laughed at her as they made her pick up their dress, and shoes and they send her back and forth.
“I hope you don’t think you will ever inherit anything from daddy. It all belongs to us. So enjoy your last weeks at our house because mummy said immediately you finish your course you will be out on the street you have eaten enough of our food.”
Zawadi’s heart sank at those words. She hadn’t thought that her stepmother would kick her out so soon. It made her work harder on her collection. She had to impress the judges. Whoever came out tops in the design college got a one year paid internship with one of the best designs in Kenya. There was a rumor that this year there was going to be an international judge would make the decision on the winner. She had to make it.
The day of the ball.
The sisters and their mum went out to have their hair and nails done. Angelica and two of her friends were sneaked into the house by the watchman. Angelica retouched Zawadi’s hair as her friends who were beauticians did a facial, threading, manicure, and pedicure for Zawadi. Angelica tonged Zawadi’s hair then made her wear a kitamba to cover it up.
Angelica also brought some jewellery and perfume to Zawadi. After they were finished they made Zawadi try on the dress. She looked very beautiful and regal. Angelica who had spent time among the upper class told her how to hold her head and then also made her practice how to walk in high heels. Zawadi being tall always wore low shoes she rarely wore high heels.
Angelica told Zawadi that should be waiting for her at the gate at exactly 8 pm. Her stepmother and sisters were supposed to leave at 7 pm for the party. Zawadi left the house with Angelica she had to pick the dresses for the madam and her daughters at the laundry. She took a matatus and came back just before the girls came back.
When the girls came back they looked lovely. They had been professionally applied makeup; they had long black human weaves. They had been waxed and had facials. They went to their rooms to shower and then they made Zawadi dress them.
They made fun of Zawadi and her kitamba on her head. “Dear Zawadi, when will you ever get a boyfriend when you wear kitambas like that. What man would even look at you? You are so tall and ugly.”
They were always trying to make Zawadi feel bad. This time Zawadi was in too good a mood to let them get to her.
At 7 Madam Asila and the girls left. Zawadi went to get her clothes from the servants’ quarters. She went to Zosi’s room to take a shower. Her room only had cold water. She wore her dress, it was beautiful. It was red with gold designs on it. She put on her headdress and then let a few curls down. She sprayed some perfume then went to the mirror. She did not have a mirror in her servant quarter room. She applied make up the way Angelica had taught her.
She was shocked at how she looked. She couldn’t believe this was her. The woman looked different, beautiful. She then wore some red and gold beaded jewelry Angelica had given her. She wasn’t quite sure about walking in the shoes so she practiced some more.
At 8 she heard somebody hooting at the gate. She knew it was Angelica. She started to panic. Was she doing the right thing? This thing could end badly. What was she thinking? Who was she kidding? She couldn’t do this. It could be suicide especially if she was caught.
Just then Angelica called. Zawadi answered, “Angelica I can’t do this. Madam Asila will kill me when she finds out. I have nothing to say to this people at the party. I am staying home.”
Angelica said “don’t be silly Zawadi. You can do this. We already discussed this. You are going. Don’t make me come to the house. Come out it is time to go. This is your one shot to ever meet Rafik. If it was me I wouldn’t even hesitate.
Zawadi got her things together and took them to the servants’ quarters. Then she carefully walked to the gate. The watchmen told her she was looking beautiful. Zawadi said thanks and entered Angelica’s boyfriend’s car.
Angelica told her that they would be there to pick her at exactly midnight. Angelica’s boyfriend needed to drop her off, then take Angelica home. “If you are late we will have to leave you.”
Zawadi agreed. She knew she couldn’t pick up her phone which was in her clutch bag. It was an old phone and it would give her away if she answered the phone at the party. Zawadi was dropped off at the house of Rafik. As she climbed the steps to the house, she tried to calm herself. She could do this.
The story continues.