You know a man is serious about making an impression when he shows up at a lady’s office unannounced with a gift, never mind the fact that he hardly knows how she looks like. Sounds like a script straight out of some romantic movie but in April 2013, that is exactly what software engineer Dominic Owino did when he walked at an office reception announcing he had a surprise for Joy Nzilani.
Many a girl would swoon and gush over such a gesture. After all, these are the markings of a knight in shining armour in all its finery. Not Joy. Her reaction, was one of confusion and rightly so. Dominic and Joy had only met in passing before they started dating and only because they shared a mutual friend in Joys ’s office colleague – Reuben.
“Every time Dominic would call Reuben and he (Reuben) would insist that I speak to him and my answer was always in the negative. Funny enough, Reuben and I would often browse photos of Dominic’s former band, Yunasi, but I still never made the connection,” says Joy. However, after much persistence, Reuben finally managed to get Joy to speak to Dominic after, on a whim, literally placed the phone on Joy’s ear, even as she admits that she was immediately taken over by his voice.
The following days would see the two strangers chat profusely prompting Dominic to ask Joy out on a date, which she refused, hence the surprise pizza delivery.
“That incident did not go down well. At the time, there were two of us with the name Joy in the office and since I did not remember how Dominic looked like, I assumed the pizza belonged to the other Joy. However, after enquiring from Joy and others if they were expecting a pizza delivery to no avail, I told Dominic that he was probably in the wrong office. He responded by showing me the phone number of the alleged Joy (read here me) he had been speaking to. Too embarrassed to speak, I started giggling and to save the situation, I offered to escort him on his way out of the office. It was terribly awkward,” confesses the counselling assistant.
The gesture, however, had fulfilled its purpose as the next time Dominic asked Joy out, she did not hesitate.
Beauty in diversity
Within months, the couple had become so comfortable that Dominic, the eldest son in his family, introduced Joy to his siblings. In a surprise move a few months later, she agreed to Dominic’s request to tag along to his rural home in Ugenya, Siaya County.
“The fact that she wanted to visit my village, something I had not experienced with a previous girlfriend, was among the signs that she was the one,” says Dominic.
However, friends and relatives expressed scepticism over the fact that they were of different ethnic backgrounds. So did Joy. “I had to explain and re-assure Joy about some of my people’s cultural practices especially those concerning marriage and death,” says Dominic even as Joy adds that her mother, who hails from a different ethnic community from her father, encouraged her to pray for her relationship.
A year after the couple met, they became engaged. According to them, one of the most conscious decisions they made was not rushing the wedding.
“We took one and half years to formalise the wedding because regardless of what friends and family contributed, we wanted to raise at least 50 per cent of the total budget which was Ksh 400,000. We set up a joint bank account and held each other accountable to our contributions by sharing bank slips,” says the couple.
In August 29th, 2015, in front of friends and relatives at the Deliverance Church Kasarani, the couple exchanged their vows and celebrated their union with a reception at the Kenya Institute of Special Education.
Published in December 2015