Daniel Omondi, 29, is a student at the Pan-African University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Theology. Dan, as he is commonly known, also works part-time as a lay minister at the Nairobi Pentecostal Church (NPC), Valley Road. He has worked closely with the youth at the church for many years, which is how he met his wife Maureen Kiambi Omondi, 24, a management trainee at Colgate-Palmolive Ltd. Maureen is known to many as Papiu, her nickname since childhood.
It was in 2006 during Teen’s week at NPC Valley Road, a time when various activities are planned for the church’s youth to engage in, that the couple met. “She has her own version of how we got together, but for me it was when we were standing in line to get lunch one day and I offered to hold her plate,” Dan says while Maureen laughs in the background. He continues, “When we finally got our food, we sat together and talked all through lunch- I think that was a big moment for me!”
Later that year, they came together again during a camp that they both helped to organise. “I was out of school at the time, on vacation, so I decided to help Dan plan the camp,” Maureen recalls. They shopped together, laughed and argued together and generally had fun together. “Planning that camp with Dan was the best decision I ever made,” says Maureen.
One afternoon when all outdoor camp activities had been cancelled due to heavy rain, Dan and Maureen sat together and just talked, sharing about their lives and families. “We talked for so long that people started to wonder what we were talking about,” Maureen says.
Months after the camp, the couple’s friendship grew tremendously. However, awkwardness crept in because neither of them seemed in any hurry to admit they liked each other. Maureen narrates, “I called Dan up, I remember it was April, 22, 2007, and told him we needed to talk. So we met and admitted that we both liked each other, but Dan insisted that we should wait and see how things would pan out. About a month later, we began dating officially.”
The next three years of dating were a wonderful time for them. “I especially loved how Maureen was and still is able to make me open up,” gushes Dan, adding, “With her I can talk about my hopes, family, dreams and fears quite easily.”
On March 6, 2010, Dan and Maureen were out on a picnic when Dan got down on his knee and asked his sweetheart for her hand in marriage. “I remember him saying a lot of things, but I didn’t hear much of it. I was just excited for him to open the box and slip the ring on my finger,” recalls Maureen excitedly.
They had six months to plan the wedding, which they did together without a planner. In the last two months, they had a committee to help strictly with logistics and not to raise funds. Orange was the color of the day, and featured heavily in the décor and bridesmaids’ dresses. The church that brought them together, NPC Valley Road, was the venue for their nuptials. The vows were followed by a reception at the Loreto Convent Valley Road School.
The couple advises others planning their weddings to not get carried away with the day. “Keep things simple and invest more in your future rather than that one day – it’s possible to have a beautiful wedding at a reasonable cost,” Maureen reasons.
Dan and Maureen hope to grow even closer to each other until they reach what Dan calls ‘perfect oneness’, and through it all continue trusting in God to sustain them. “Saying the vows to my wife was a turning point for me,” says Dan, concluding, “we were made one, meaning she is my first priority no matter what happens, and I aim to live up to those vows every single day of my life!”
Published in February 2011