Dowry and wedding on same day

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When Everlyne Silong’ and Joel Oloishowa Nakola were formally introduced to each other by mutual friends at Moi University, they struck up a quick and easy friendship. Five months into their marriage, the happy-go-lucky couple share with ESTHER AKELLO the highs and lows of their courtship, and the story behind their unconventional wedding that saw them get married the same day as their dowry negotiations.

When Joel Nakola, 25, was introduced to 24 year-old- Everlyn Silong’ in 2009 during Christian fellowship he did not waste anytime. He called her back that same evening and they had a lengthy discussion. But he says this was not the first time he had laid eyes on her.

“It was clear that she had never taken notice of me despite having interacted with her severally, as I often backed up the Christian fellowship choir, which she was a part of, as a pianist. I have the photos to prove it,” quips Joel.

Everlyne admits she has no recollection whatsoever of Joel in the previous years, but his phone call in 2009 did make quite the impression because the next time they met, Everlyne, who was in the company of her best friend, invited him along for dinner and they bonded easily.

Going separate ways…

Despite their obvious chemistry, in 2010, they started experiencing a rift in their camaraderie. Joel was running for a student leadership post and Everlyne felt more like a third wheel as every time they went out, it was in the company of Joel’s campaign team. But that was not the only challenge. Despite having a crush on her, Joel would not reconcile himself with their age difference as he thought he was older than him owing to the fact that Everlyn was a year ahead of him in university. He resolved to try and ‘fix’ Everlyne with

some of his cousins but with little success. It was only years later that he found out he was actually a year older than her. Meanwhile, as Everlyne puts it, due to a lot of mixed signals and Joel’s busy schedule, she completed her studies and left the university without saying goodbye to him.

Hallo? I need help…

“A year after we parted ways, I was to travel from Nairobi to Bomet and the one person I could call for assistance was of little help. My mind quickly wandered to Joel. I called him and since then, a day has never gone by without us communicating,” Everlyne explains how they reconnected. They officially started courting in August 2013.

On October 18, 2014, Joel proposed to Everlyne but it did not go as planned. While he thought he had made quite the effort, granted he had taken an M-shwari loan to pay for the ring, Everlyne was less than impressed.

“I wanted a sweet proposal. Instead what I got was a brown bag with a ring box stuffed inside with the words, ‘ndio hii, shika vaa’ (here you go, wear it). I did not consider that a proper proposal,” says an exasperated Everlyne. Despite her disappointed reaction, Joel had other issues to worry about.

“In Everlyne’s culture (Kalenjin), one has to go to the bride’s home several times before declaring her his wife. The ceremonies are said to belong to the bride’s community while the wedding ceremony belongs to the groom. Being Maasai, my family is split between Kenya and Tanzania and I knew several meetings would not do. It was then that I resolved that the day I pay for Everlyne’s dowry is the day we would move to our home, married or not,” says Joel.

Resolute, the two lobbied their families to forego the three ceremonies and instead have the dowry negotiations and the wedding in one day. On March 26, 2015, Joel proposed once more. This time on bended knee at the BOMA hotel in Eldoret and with a new ring to boot. Nine days later, the couple sat for their dowry negotiations in the morning and by afternoon, was celebrating their nuptials before 700 guests at the AIC Pioneer Church Grounds in Eldoret, where they also exchanged their personally penned vows.

“We cannot thank our family and friends enough for their support. Thanks to them, our dream wedding became a reality and since then, we have learnt other couples have opted to have their dowry negotiations and wedding in one day. Who knew we would be trendsetters!” the couple concludes.

 Published in September 2015.

 

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