When Robert Mugo, 31, and Esther Kendi, 26, met in 2010 for the first time, never in their wildest dreams did they think they would be attracted to each other. At the time, both were working at Beacon of Hope, a non-governmental organisation based in Rongai. The lovebirds share their love story with HENRY KAHARA.
Esther Kendi and Robert Mugo started off as colleagues before they realised they were meant to be more than just workmates. Through regular interaction, the pair came to the realisation that they shared similar values and interests and this drew them closer. “I first met Esther while interning at Beacon of Hope in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County. She had just finished form four and was volunteering with the organisation,” Robert starts off the interview.
Esther says that starting a serious relationship with Robert was the last thing on her mind at the time. “I had not seen it coming as I didn’t think of him in anyway other than a colleague,” says an excited Esther. Robert observes that one of the activities in the organisation was theatre production and it’s here they were both assigned. “After working together for some months in a project, we realised we had a mutual interest in theatre,” notes Robert.
“Apart from being tall, dark and handsome, he was helpful too. He helped me draft my first CV. He was also mature (and still is) as he would occasionally advise me when I was at crossroads,” says Esther. Though slow but sure, the couple eventually fell in love and started courting. In 2012, Robert, assured that Esther was the one God had chosen for him, took her to his parents in Buruburu Estate in Nairobi and although Esther wasn’t prepared for the visit, Robert’s parents were elated.
“I didn’t know he was taking me to his parents as we had not discussed about it. I thought I was accompanying him for a haircut but he requested we take a detour to his parents’ house. I was apprehensive as the kind of attire I had worn was not the best for in-laws visitation. But the visit ended well because his mum was evidently happy with me,” Esther explains.
Having gotten his parents’ blessings, their journey to matrimony kicked off in earnest starting with dowry payment. The fact that Esther’s (Meru) and Robert’s (Kikuyu) culture have a lot of similarities made things easier for them during dowry negotiations. “After fulfilling all cultural requirements, we were given the green light to go on with our wedding plans,” he notes.
With the help of friends, church and family members, Robert and Esther managed to raise Ksh350,000 for their wedding that was held on August 6, 2016 at New Life Mission Church in Ongata Rongai.
Robert urges those planning to wed to look for a mature best couple as they play a big role in determining how the wedding and the eventual marriage will pan out. They further advise young people not to have a wedding that is beyond their means.
“If you are planning a wedding, don’t over burden your committee with a huge budget. Also, as the bride and groom, you need to specifically cater for personal items like rings and attires among others,” says Robert who is a HR officer at New Life Mission. “A wedding is a one-day affair but marriage is for a lifetime; so don’t break the bank to entertain people,” he remarks.
Robert also says that a good and committed committee is equal to a successful wedding. “Look for experienced people to sit in your committee and work closely with them,” observes Esther.
The lovebirds also counsel those who want to tie the knot to make sure they know each other well before exchanging vows. “Love is complex and it takes patience, compromise and sacrifice for it to develop into something meaningful. It’s not a feeling as most people think,” says Robert, adding that they dated for approximately five years before eventually getting married.