He turned up for our first date covered in paint

Thursday August 29 2019


By Edgar Batte

For Rolands Tibirusya an artist from Kabale in western Uganda and Laura Oyieri a teacher from western Kenya, love knew no bounds. They share a little bit about their love sojourn.

How they met (Rolands)
Her kinky hair is what caught my eye the day I first saw her and then when she spoke with such intelligence and confidence, I was taken by her. It was at a leadership conference where we were both participants. During one of the breaks, I approached her and was thrilled to discover that we had mutual interests such as art, travel and youth engagement.
Falling in love with him (Laura)
He has a big heart for humanity especially the children at the Kampala School of Physically Handicapped as well as those living in the backwaters of the city. He is not ashamed to get to people who others might be ashamed to be seen interacting with. This is what warmed my heart up to his advances. I fell in love with the humanist in him. The other aspect is that he was (still is) a very honest man. From the very start, he did not hide who he was. He told he was broke at the time. In fact, he would come to a date with no transport fare to go back to his place. It was hard for him at first.
Getting serious (Rolands)
I had had bad experiences with girls I had tried to date in the past so when she expressed interest in knowing my family, I was convinced she was different, and serious too. I took her to Kigirimi Village, Ndorwa, in Kabale District to meet my family.

Awkward dates and defining moments (Laura)
One day he turned up for one of our dates in tattered shorts covered in paint and yet I on the other hand was all dressed-up to meet him. The date went on but I told him that I was not ready to see him again because he clearly was not serious. He apologised profusely and assured me he was serious. To prove this, he decided to come to Nairobi to meet my close family.

Sealing the deal (Rolands) I also wanted to meet her extended family so we went to Kitare, western Kenya. I bought a ring and after enjoying a meal, I called her out of the house and told her I wanted to give her the gift I had bought for her. And right there, I proposed.

Reaction (Laura)
I wasn’t expecting the proposal. I was shocked because I hadn’t thought he would propose to me at home. His voice was shaky when he proposed. I didn’t give him an answer immediately. When I returned to the house, I showed my family the ring and I remember my elder sister screaming and calling everyone to come celebrate. For much of the night, it was merrymaking.

The wait (Rolands)
The next morning, I was on the road, travelling back to Uganda when I received a text message from her accepting my proposal and expressing her love for me. She said she looked forward to doing life with me. Our wedding was in 2015.
Advice? (Laura)
Men should not lead women and vice versa. And I implore ladies to respect the old school norm of being pursued rather than being desperate and pursuing men.


The journey so far (Laura)
“It’s been a worthwhile journey. As couple, we have wronged each other to a point of not talking to each other but because we are Christians, the cross brings us together. Forgiveness is vital.