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Love brewed in an African pot

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Anna Nyokabi met Michael Shanie Wolfenbarger on Facebook. Nyokabi posted a picture of some food on a Facebook page. Micheal ‘liked’ it and went straight to her ‘DM’ to inquire about the food. Michael ended up loving the food and its maker. Our writer Harriet James captures their love story.

How did you meet the love of your life?

Annah: We met on February 28, 2018 on Facebook. I was a personal chef then and would post food in a popular Facebook group where members share on Kenyan meals, which I was a part of.

It is here that he one day ‘liked’ something I posted and he followed me to the DM to find out how to prepare the dish. At first, even though we talked more, I never took him seriously, I thought he was joking, but later, after he stuck around longer, I realised he was here to stay.

We got to know each other, even after I kept telling him that I would block him. I guess we fell in love be-fore that could happen.

How was dating someone you met on Facebook like?

It was not that easy, since we lived worlds apart. I was living in Dubai at the time, while he was in Tennessee, US. Dating online, especially someone you have never met, takes effort and a lot of commitment.

Sometimes you don’t even know if you will ever meet them personally. You keep wondering what kind of individual they are in person, and it was one of the most challenging things I’ve done, but faith kept me going, and the hope that one day I would get to see him physically.

When my contract in Dubai ended, I came running home in February last year, hoping he would visit as soon as possible, but then Covid-19 happened and we had to wait for some more time until the airspace opened up, and he did finally come to Kenya on September 29.

How was it meeting him in person for the first time?

I was excited and I had butterflies in my stomach as I waited for him to arrive at JKIA. I felt like I was going to get sick, especially when I saw him and hugged him for the first time. I was finally convinced he was real.

How long did you date and when did he propose?

We dated online for almost two years. When he came to Kenya, we went to town one time for a day out, where he saw a ring he liked. He bought it and kept it with him until one night I came home and our bedroom was filled with candles.

It was so beautiful and before l could figure out what was happening, he was on one knee asking me to marry him. He started with a really touching speech of how I’d changed his life and he couldn’t wait to spend the rest of it with me. I cried as I said ‘Yes’.

What did your family say about the man and this whole thing?

My parents were really happy for me, but they kept saying “Hiyo kizungu ni mingi aki”. As for my siblings, well, as long as I’m happy, they are happy for me.

How easy or challenging was wedding planning?

Planning the wedding was not that challenging. The only challenge we faced was getting the wedding licence from Sheria House. They didn’t make it easy for us, but finally, we got it. My brothers took care of almost all the wedding planning. It was as smooth as I had hoped it would be.

Did you have to organise for guests from the groom’s side to travel here for the wedding?

No one from the groom’s side came, he was alone, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

What outstanding thing do you remember about your wedding?

I remember when the women came to sing for me at my mum’s on the morning of D-day, and walking down the aisle as my favourite song played. It was Perfect by Ed Sheeran, and when he saw me shedding tears, he too began shedding tears.

I also loved the whole décor and it as well made me shed tears. Again, dancing with guests during the reception was just so awesome.

The only regret I have at this point is not having been in his life earlier, as he is such an amazing great guy.

Tell us about the groom’s unique outfit.

He wore that because he’s from the army, where he worked for a long time, and served in Iraq for 22 years. He’s retired now.

Advice to couples planning their wedding?

I would tell them that your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime day, so make it extra special by choosing an awesome team that is fast and very organised.

Read more in our PDWikendi magazine, please click here.

In summary

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