Written by Sandra Chumba
A famous saying goes in my country that if you haven’t dated a Kalenjin man, then you have no dating experience at all. I am not talking about the Nairobian slay kings with piped trousers, carrying lip balm and pink tissues in their wallets. No, it’s the eligible village bachelors.
Yes, especially those from Eldama Ravine, Nyaru, Aldai in Nandi County or Kerita in Uasin Gishu. And hey, don’t start throwing stones; I haven’t started yet. The first rule to consider when preparing to go on date with these gentlemen is your dressing code.
First, as a potential wife, you SHOULD put away your expensive rugged trouser or favorite off-shoulder top. You see that beautiful kitenge dress at the bottom of your briefcase? Yes, that one that you wore during Chemutai’s pre-wedding will be ideal for your date.
Alternatively, a black skirt that stretches below your knees will do. Use flat shoes and don’t forget to carry your good handbag and a lesso (sash) too. Dare not put on make up; it is an abomination to them, a complete put-off to these dignified gentlemen. Just keep them away until you return to the city. With your Vaseline, Arimis or Fair and Lovely brand of body oil, you are good to go.
You will find him at the randezvous waiting, pacing impatiently. If he is from Tripkatoi, Torongo or Kowochii, he will be clad in an oversized pair of trousers, sports shoes and his favorite UDA cap, looking pretty much like Kipchoge. If he is from Nandi Hills, on the contrary, he will be in those pink, maroon or blue coats they wear nowdays in every pre-wedding (thank God they did away with their brown-jacket uniform).
I have nothing against our brothers from Elgeiyo Marakwet or Baringo lest someone accusses me of mentioning them severally. It’s just that their mode of dressing quite baffles me – another day’s story.
So, perhaps when on meeting your man, you imagine that he will hug or carry you the Alliandro style, take a deep breath, my dear sister; lower your expections, because the closest thing he will do is to give you a handshake and off he will be gone, several kilometers ahead of you.
Don’t even expect him to hold and walk with you hand in hand. I don’t know who told these Kalenjin men that walking with your woman closely is an embarassing act. Even when you two finally board a bus, he will complacently sit on the front seat with the driver while you sit at the back, like complete strangers!
As soon as you alight from the vehicle, he will simply start making huge strides away, leaving you running after him. Most probably, his preferred venue for the date will be Silver Line or Maggies in Eldoret.
When you finally catch up with him, you will find him seated calmly in the restaurant with a cup of steaming hot tea in front of him. What you are to do, dear Kalenjin queen, is to wrap the lesso around your waist and sit down. Even before you order a meal, at least five of his friends will show up as if it’s a normal thing. Beware of this group; they are called “deep state” and are there to interview you. So you have to be composed and show the best behaviour.
My sister, these Kalenjin men don’t know that a date is supposed to be a private affair. So let not their intrusion bother you; smile, be polite and remember that if they ask you about your prefered presidential candidate, just say “uliam pchirchir kityo“. Most likely, they will forget about your presence and concenrate on their political debate, but it should not worry you – enjoy your meal.
If, after your meeting with this group, your man goes on talking to you with usual enthusiasm, then just know that you passed the interview. Even more clearly, if – after your lunch, or rather the UDA political meeting, his friends call you Pamuru, know that you are safe.
After a few days, most likely, he’ll tell you “kekatin mathe – receive greetings from mother” (just know that what you’ve just been told is the most romantic thing you will ever hear from him). Let not the lie bother you; smile, dear girl, smile – just know that the ancestors are nodding in your favour. Sooner or later, he will say to you, “Imnyeno inye kamache kebee gaa ipikatisie” (where are you, I want to take you home to meet my people). Know that that is a complete marriage proposal and if you are still waiting for him to go down on his knees as they do in soaps, then I am sorry my sister, you will wait for eternity.
Meet the writer.
Sandra Chumba (1995 – present) is a Kenyan with diploma in public relations and creative advertisement. She takes writing as both a passion and a talent and has written several poems, short stories and novels, among others. She loves watching, reading and writing. Click here to connect with Sandra on Facebook.
Editor’s note: This piece is natural and fascinating, both in taste and style. It is real and African, and Sandra’s style of writing is so engaging that the moment you start reading, your attention is grabbed and you keep reading till the end. It enlightens the reader, in the most irresistible and humorous way, of what dating a Kalenjin man feels like and what to expect. Beyond these, it appreciates African beauty and culture.
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