EC Osondu

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EC OsonduEC Osondu of Nigeria is the winner of the 2009 Caine Prize for the African Writing for a short story, “Waiting.” He worked as an advertising copywriter for many years before moving to New York to study for his MA in creative writing at Syracuse University. He has won the Allen and Nirelle Galso Prize for Fiction, and in 2007 his story “Jimmy Carter’s Eyes” was shortlisted for the Caine Prize. He is now at Providence University.

from Waiting

My name is Orlando Zaki. Orlando is taken from Orlando, Florida, which is what is written on the t-shirt given to me by the Red Cross. Zaki is the name of the town where I was found and from which I was brought to this refugee camp. My friends in the camp are known by the inscriptions written on their t-shirts. Acapulco wears a t-shirt with the inscription, Acapulco. Sexy’s t-shirt has the inscription Tell Me I’m Sexy. Paris’s t-shirt says See Paris And Die. When she is coming toward me, I close my eyes because I don’t want to die. Even when one gets a new t-shirt, your old name stays with you. Paris just got a new t-shirt that says Ask Me About Jesus, but we still call her Paris and we are not asking her about anybody.