Inhaltsangabe - Plot Summary
This story focuses on Fatou, a refugee from the Ivory Coast who is telling her story. She is working as a maid for a family in northwest London. Every Monday she slips out of the home and uses the family’s guest passes to get into the swimming pool at a nice club.
She becomes fascinated by the Cambodian Embassy, which, somewhat incongruously, occupies a suburban villa in Willesden. She feels relatively free when she reads about a Sudanese “slave” in another rich London home.
On the other hand, just like the girl in the newspaper, she had not seen her passport with her own eyes since she arrived at the Derawals, and she had been told from the start that her wages were to be retained by the Derawals to pay for the food, water and heat she would require during her stay, as well as to cover the rent for the room she slept in.
In this state of servitude, Fatou doesn’t leave the house often, but she does spend Sunday mornings with one of her friends from church, Andrew Okonkwo, from Nigeria. They talk about such things as whether Africans are born to suffer. He’s a doctoral student, smart, yet he’s friendly. Both Fatou and Andrew are reaching for answers to questions that sometimes test the limits of their knowledge. Fatou saved one child's life which she has to look up to. But this situation changed everything. Mrs. Derawal decided to throw her out because they do not need a nanny but a house cleaner. When Fatou had to leave the house she first called Andrew, who has a solution. After the call, she went swimming one last time and then waited for hours at the bus stop hearing the shuttle cock and seeing buses come and leave.