It was a rainy day and the lecturer was caught up in traffic. There was nowhere to go so we sat in class sharing stories. In a class where most students had just cleared from high school, Lilly was the oldest. She was well in her thirties.
One of the younger girls remarked how she wished she had a rich husband because she wouldn’t bother herself with school and especially in such weather. That was when Lilly shared her story. She had made it her mission to encourage women to pursue their education.
Some need to date for years before finding the one but not Lily and Oscar. They met and in three weeks they knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
Oscar had just graduated as an engineer, and together with a group of friends, they’d decided to go to the Mara in celebration. That was where he met her.
A young beautiful girl from Taita land. She came from a humble family but had managed to get a high school education. College was a far-fetched dream but she was determined to get ahead in life. So, she decided to start selling things to tourists. Her business led her to Maasai Mara. Lilly was selling safari hats when Oscar saw her.
She was an excellent salesperson, combined with her striking beauty it wasn’t so hard for her to make sales.
“Sir, a hat for the heat and for that safari swag?” Lilly told Oscar.
“I’ll get a hat if I can get your number,” he responded.
“You can get my number if you get at least two of your friends to buy my hats,” Lilly said with a smile.
“Smart one, we have a deal. Shake on it?”
They shook hands to signify their deal.
Another group of tourists approached Lilly for the hats so she left Oscar to make the sales pitch to his friends. By the time she came back, he had the cash for three hats. She would later learn that Oscar had used his own cash to buy the hats. That would later cost him one of the planned activities since they were vacationing on a very tight budget. That was how they exchanged numbers.
They met up later that evening and every other one for the three days that Oscar was there. By the time he left for Nairobi, he knew Lilly was special.
The peak tourism season was coming to an end so Lilly needed a different hustle. She had a friend in Nairobi and she was going to try a hand at selling clothes. As she was making these plans, her interaction with Oscar was getting more intense.
Three weeks after the meeting, they knew they wanted to spend each day together. With Lilly moving to Nairobi they were now in the same city but Oscar had no job yet. He was doing a few gigs here and there enough to rent out a bedsitter and buy a mattress, and a few kitchen items. He felt a bit embarrassed to invite Lilly over but Lilly saw beyond his current circumstances.
After going over for a few weekends she moved in with him.
“Are you sure about being with me? I don’t have much to offer a beautiful girl like yourself at the moment,” Oscar told her.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be,” Lilly said confidently.
For Lilly, most of the men she had interacted with never saw her beyond her beauty and current financial status. Oscar seemed to see more in her and she also believed in him. Months later Lilly’s clothes business was going well, Oscar had gotten a job, they moved to a bigger house and they decided to have a civil wedding.
Marriage life was blissful and they got their first child within the year. Oscar’s career had really taken off and he was making lots of cash. He upgraded Lilly’s clothes business and even bought her car. As Oscar’s career soared something began to change in their relationship.
“Babe, I need you to get a new dress for Saturday. We’ll be attending a party at one of my mentor’s homes in Runda,” Oscar told Lilly.
“Oh, there’s another of those parties?” Lilly asked not hiding her lack of enthusiasm.
“Yes, and before I forget please mingle with other guests, not the catering staff like the last time, ” Oscar said, sounding more like an order.
Lilly had been struggling to fit in with Oscar’s friends. Oscar could not hide his disapproval. Additionally, he was frequently leaving her out of major decisions that concerned their family and kids. While previously he was patient with her when she needed further explanations on issues she didn’t understand, he just ignored her questions.
At social gatherings, he would introduce his colleagues and acquaintances to his wife using their titles such as doctor and engineer in a condescending manner. He would then disappear and reappear when it was time to leave.
Fed up with the behaviour, Lilly finally decided to have that discussion.
“Oscar, why do you even insist on me attending social gatherings with you if you are not comfortable with having me around?”
“Because you’re my wife, it’s important that you’re there,” Oscar said.
“A wife whose opinion you often disregard?” Lilly asked.
“I just know more about many things.”
“But you disregard my opinion even on issues affecting our children. Remember how you ignored my sentiments about our daughter but the teacher recommended the same solution I had tabled?”
“I don’t know what exactly you’re complaining about,” Oscar responded.
Lilly walked away knowing he wouldn’t listen to understand her. Meanwhile, she had been talking to a few women at church and they all suggested that it would be good for her to go back to school. She had always wanted to pursue a course in Public Relations but had kept postponing it with children and her business taking up a lot of her time. With her husband’s treatment, she decided it was time to finally get that education.
Lilly hoped that going back to school would make her husband see her as an equal. While she didn’t have esteem issues, this was also going to boost her confidence when mingling in some societal scenes. She was doing this for her peace of mind, growth and for her marriage.
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