Peter De Jong, 48, his wife Susan De Jong in her thirties and their three-year-old daughter, Esther Nyakinda, grace this month’s cover. Peter is an assistant professor in a Holland university while Susan lectures in a Kenyan university. The couple also has a son, Joshua Jahawi, who is three months old.
How did you meet?
Susan: We met at a professional conference in Sweden in August 2007 and we instantly liked each other. After I returned to Kenya in November 2007, Peter paid me a surprise visit and we spent time together touring the country. Peter met my family in March 2008 and informed them of his intentions to marry me. I travelled to Holland in April 2008 to meet his family. We held our wedding at Safari Park Hotel on December 21, 2008.
Peter: I was attracted to Susan’s sense of humour and later fell deeply in love with her after becoming familiar with her many other great qualities. When I visited her in Kenya the first time, we exchanged friendship rings and this inspired us to take our relationship to a higher level.
How did your families react to the inter-racial marriage?
Susan: My parents knew I was mature enough to make sound decisions and they gave us their blessings. I called my mother every week during my first two years of marriage when we lived in Holland, just to reassure her that I was doing fine.
Peter: My family was happy for us but worried about the practical implications of where to settle down. They were concerned about the harsh Dutch climate but we were happy together. Susan has so far learnt the Dutch language and is able to communicate with my mother whose English is not very good.
Describe your marriage
Susan: Currently we are living in different countries and are only physically together for about five months every year when Peter comes to Kenya or I travel to Holland. But thanks to technology, which allows us to communicate daily.
Peter: We cherish the moments we are together and make the most of it. When I am away, Susan, Esther and Joshua never leave my thoughts. The arrival of our children gave our marriage a new dimension and we are really working hard to ensure that we settle as a family in one country.
How would you describe your children?
Both: Esther Nyakinda, three, is sociable, disciplined and sensitive. She is a very creative girl. Joshua, on the other hand, is a happy baby with a good appetite. He is quite aware of his environment and adjusts easily.
How is parenting?
Susan: Parenthood brings out the best and the worst in me. It is very fulfilling and I consider it an honour to be a parent.
Peter: It gives me a new sense of responsibility and purpose in life and is also very fulfilling. Parenting is a daily joy; it can be physically tiring but the rewards are great.