Inside the Fence

Posted on Posted in Excerpts

#ITF #InsideTheFence

 

Linda has just moved into the homestead ‘Inside the Fence’. She has just broken up with her boyfriend of three years so she is nursing a broken heart and she comes off as being very uptight and rude to the other neighbours.

She does not take kindly to the little children that are running up and down her veranda in an attempt to welcome her to their neighbourhood. She screams at them to leave her veranda and in fright one of them falls off and hurts himself.

 

The rest of the residents- the mothers- have heard the screaming of both Linda and the little child and they have all come out. They do not take kindly to her yelling at their children. She is apologetic but they will have none of it. Each of them start to tell her off and she shuts her door in their faces. Inside her house, Linda puts on music at full blast to shut out the noise that is outside.

 

Outside the other women hear the loud music inside and they slowly but angrily go back to what they were doing. It is now that we get to know them individually.

 

Mama Ian, the mother of the child who fell carries her child back to her veranda and continues with the washing that she has been doing. She is mumbling about single women who do not have their own children moving in to disrupt their peaceful neighbourhood.

 

Mama Jamal at the shop at the front of the residency is chatting with Mama Liz the salon owner also at the front of the residency. They also discuss the new neighbor and talk about how she is rude and very arrogant. She speaks English only and behaves as if she is too good for the neighbourhood.

 

Linda, has noticed that the women have left her veranda so she reduces the volume of the radio. She paces up and down her house…she does not think that she will last in this place. Then there is a loud thud- a stone has been thrown through her window. She jumps with a thud.

 

Linda, 28, is a fashion designer trying to get her brand out. She works at home and she works hard to try and get all her clients clothes out on time. She has just broken up with her boyfriend of three years and they used to live together. Now she has moved out of his home and has found a small house that she can afford. That is how she has ended up ‘Inside the Fence’. She tries to keep to herself and she works inside her house. Her house is fully furnished with everything that she needs to have a comfortable life. She only comes out when she needs to cook in her kitchen which is outside of her house and even then she has almost no interaction with her neighbours. If they pass her way then she will say ‘hello’ but she never goes out of her way to talk with them. She comes off as being very unfriendly and rude.

 

She loves to dress up nice even when she is at home and she is always smelling good. She rarely has any visitors coming over. She meets her clients in town. She has a steady inflow of cash and she is happy. Her neighbours do not really know what she does and they are always speculating.

 

Linda hates men at the moment and she will not let anyone close to her. Her family is spread all over the country and they only keep in touch on social media. They rarely visit her and she has stopped visiting them too. She busies herself with work.

 

She has no children and she does not like it when the neighbours kids come around her house. They have also learnt to keep their distance. She goes to them, no one comes to her. She is secretly afraid of her neighbours and their judgment of her. She always peeps through her curtain to make sure that there is no one lurking about before she opens her door.

 

Mama Ian is a young mother who lives directly opposite Linda. She is just 23 and she has two small children. Ian who is 3 and a baby Abby. She is always washing and cleaning outside her house. She has a man she calls her husband who comes to visit on the weekends. He provides for her and the children and when he is around, Mama Ian seems to work in over drive. She will be seen polishing his shoes and washing his clothes and cooking for him. He carries his clothes over the weekend for her to wash. He has another woman that he lives with from Monday to Friday.

 

Mama Ian seems happy with the arrangement that she has with Tata Ian. She only complains when he does not show up on the weekends. During the week, she busies herself with her children. She is usually in long ugly dresses but really dresses up when her man comes around. Then she looks like a young little diva in shiny tight clothes and full blown makeup.

 

She is often peeping and trying to look inside Linda’s house whenever Linda opens her door for fresh air. She wants to be like Linda…she wants to be her friend. She tries to engage her in conversation each time she has a chance.

 

She has a mother who lives in the village and she tries to send her money as often as she can. Her brother is a taxi driver in the city and he visits her once in a while and brings her food. Her sister comes to visit her and takes food from her house. Mama Ian seems to have grown up before her time and she struggles to juggle between being a wife and mother and a young woman learning about life.

 

Mama Jamal is in her late 40’s and she has five grown children. Jamal is 18 and he is her youngest child who lives with her ‘Inside the Fence’. He helps to run her shop sometimes. She has turned the second room of her home into a shop and the back room is where she and Jamal sleep. Her house faces the road so it is easy for her to run her shop. Her other children come to visit her often on big days and they all have children of their own. When they come the whole compound is littered with small children.

 

She lost her husband when Jamal was just born and she has been struggling by herself the whole time. She is a Christian but her late husband was Muslim. She respects his religion and allows her children to practice and chose to be Muslims even if she is a Christian.

 

She is very soft spoken and being the oldest person ‘Inside the Fence’ she is a voice of reason often stepping in to solve the issues that the other people might have. She tries to understand Linda and she respects her and her reason for privacy. She does not like that Linda hates children so she keeps her grandchildren away from her.

 

She makes a decent living from her shop and she keeps her son in check.

 

Jamal is in boarding school but in the holidays he runs his Mother’s shop. He is well behaved and he listens to his mother.

 

Mama Liz runs the salon next door. She is 22 and she has a small daughter called Liz. She stopped in S4 but is married to a graduate and she runs a salon right next to Mama Jamal. She is a typical salon woman who gossips at every given opportunity. She seems to have the scoop on everyone and everyone’s life each time. She tries to get close to Linda when Linda comes to wash her hair and do her nails at her salon.

 

She is a very jealous woman and she wants her child to have everything she cries for. She often gets into fights with the other women in the residency.

 

Her husband works late and leaves early. He can only be seen around the residency on Sunday. He does not come out often and if he is in the salon section which doubles up as their living room, when there is a client, he leaves and goes to the bedroom.

 

He often hits his wife when they get into a fight. She believes that he is having an affair with someone at his place of work. He works in an office in the city as an administrator. He is good with paperwork. He is twice as old as his wife and when they are together he looks like her father.

 

John is the residency player and is in his early 30s. He lives on the lower side of the residency opposite Linda at the end. He often has a different woman at his house. They leave very early in the morning or under the cover of night. Once in a while he has fights with his women as they fight and accuse him of cheating on them. He causes a stir in the neighbourhood when this happens.

 

He works as an IT expert in town in a big office and he often pays his rent in advance. He has a fully furnished house with a large entertainment system.

 

He is fairly good looking and very smartly dressed all the time. He is also very polite and he greets his neighbours when he is passing through. His house is often uninhabited except on the weekends.

 

Mama Mark has a big family of eight people in her house. She has three grown sons and a little baby. Her sister and her sister’s daughter and granddaughter live with her. None of them works but she has a business of managing a couple of hawkers who sell her wares on commission.

 

They are very noisy and are always in everyone else business. They sleep late and disturb the peace in the neighbourhhood. They are always late in paying their bills and are often in fights with the landlord.

 

They do not understand Linda but give her space.

 

Ken Kaunda is Linda’s immediate neighbor and he likes Linda. He owns a graphics shop on Nasser Road. He is in his late 20’s and he is single. His sisters’ come to visit him often and clean his house for him. He is very spoilt. He does cook for himself once in a while. He tries to visit Linda once in a while but she is often too busy for him.

 

Ken is very clean and he tries and keeps his house clean. He is very neat and he thinks he looks like Will Smith. He tries to behave really cool like a teenager. He loves to wear jeans and t-shirts with writings that affirm his looks.

 

The other women in the residency like him a lot and they flirt with him when they can if their men are away. Sometimes they offer him food so that he does not have to cook. All of them except Mama Jamal and Linda.

 

Mama Patience sells chips by the roadside and makes a very decent living. She has daughter Patience who is 5 and a son Amos who is 3. She goes with both her children to work. She leaves the house close to midday and returns close to midnight. Her husband is a mechanic in town. He often brings a car home that he is working on and he strides around the residency like he owns all the cars he brings home.

 

She is very vocal and often screams at her children. She does not like them playing with the other children in the neighbourhood. She believes that they will catch a disease.

 

She completed her secondary education and decided that she wanted to start up her own business- as a restaurant owner. She has started with making roadside chips and she is saving up to open up a restaurant.

 

A newly wedded couple in their mid 20’s. They both work in town and leave and return together every day. They cook together when they return. They are both University Graduates and they are so in love. They are both trying to build their careers as well as their marriage.  They both work in a bank and that is where they met. The work Monday to Friday and half day Saturday. On Sunday they try and spend time with each other.

 

A new series coming to a screen near you; created and written by Achiro P. Olwoch

#ITF #InsideTheFence