Willie and Wangeci Kanyeki
When we finally got to chat, I could not believe my ears – that this prince charming was not only working in the same building that I was working but was in the same organisation yet I had never seen him. I was working as a personal assistant to the Lonrho Property Managing Director and was at the time sitting on the 20th floor.
Kanyeki worked in the internal auditing department which had at the time recently moved to the 19th floor of Lonrho House. So we were not only work mates but it turned out that we also lived in the same neighborhood. If that is not coincidence then I don’t know what is. Kanyekis story on when we first met is different.
He first saw me at South C someplace and he introduced himself to me. Incidentally I cannot even recall that first meeting. He was very subtle in his approach, I didn’t even realise he was ‘throwing points’ and I was simply enjoying his good company and was on a no-dating season which young ladies sometimes go through.
When he first visited me at my house, I remembered my mothers advice not to feed bachelors who passed by my house so I decided to give him such a pathetic meal that he would never visit again. I gave him a bowl of rice and bland ndengus or so I thought. But the guy ate it all up and asked for more, so clearly that plan did not work out. We later met in group dates and I was ever so slowly getting to like him. It dawned on me that I should pay a little more attention to Kanyeki in 1998 when the American Embassy building in Nairobi exploded and our office building shook to its core.
In the midst of disaster management of a devasted city, Kanyeki had just flown into the country that morning and come right to my office to check if I was OK and in addition he brought me a gold chain with an initial of my name. Who does that? We dated for two years on what I call a long distant relationship.
Kanyeki’s auditing job would take him away for 6 weeks then he would be back in Kenya for a weekend and travel again for another 6 weeks. When he proposed to me, I waited three months to accept his proposal. We have been married for 17 years, since the time we said our vows in June 2000. We have three daughters, Michelle, Alisa and Muini Kanyeki.
We have a passion for families and have supported soon-to-wed couples for the last twelve years or so where we facilitate through Ndoa a ten week marital workshop that helps couples understand their personalities, roles in marriage and how to manage conflict. As a journalist, I also tremendously enjoy profiling couples and telling their stories of how they met and what they have gone through to make their marriage work.
I have a hidden passion for soon-to be mothers and find myself supporting them through the pregnancy and initial months of mother hood. Marriage has been amazing. For me it has been better than I thought despite the ups and downs.
I enjoy the company of having someone to live life with and brainstorm on ideas. Marriage also provides one with a hand to hold through the ups and downs of life. In our 17 years of marriage we have gone through various seasons and testing on our vow commitment.
We began our marriage journey when we both had lucrative jobs, a time when I worked and Kanyeki was out of work, a time when he worked and I stayed home with the children and we are in a new season where we are both in entrepreneurship or maybe I should call is marriagepreneurship.
We have learned that it is important to treat each other with dignity no matter what financial season your partner is going through because before you know it the tables have turned and your are the one on the receiving end. All aspects of our vows have been tested and when the going gets tough whether in sickness and in health, in poverty or in riches we often remember the tag line in the Fire Proof movie, that you should never leave your partner behind in a fire.
The story above is written by the couple and has not been edited for authenticity purposes.