Mary Matama describes her husband Daudi Oguttu as a tall, ‘dark’ and handsome man. Daudi on the other hand describes her as a compassionate woman, with genuine love for people, one who goes out of her way to make sure everyone is okay.
“She is also firm, with strong resolve and clear boundaries,” he adds.
The two met three years ago during a #KoikoiNorth edition, an initiative aimed at promoting domestic tourism using photography.
“He was the organiser and I went as part of the team from the sponsors- Vivo Energy where I work. I was initially in the sponsors’ car but wanted to be in the bus where everyone else was because that is where the ‘turn up’ was so mid-way the trip I got his number from a colleague and called and asked where they were,” she recounts.
She moved to the bus at the Murchison Falls gate and that was it. She did not notice him for much of the trip.
After that project, there were outings for people who had been on trips, something they called ‘one drink’. They would meet as a group at Sky Lounge & Restaurant, a hangout in Kampala where they would mix and mingle.
The duo only got talking after one too many.
“He is easy to talk to and knows random facts so we were able to have intelligent and engaging conversation. We soon started meeting for Monday night drinks for just the two of us but just as friends,” she recollects.
Can we be lovers?
Destiny had it that the friendship would soon progress into something more. At the start of 2017, Daudi and Mary had a conversation about having something more than being just friends but decided against it for the fear of it not working out and losing the beautiful friendship they had.
“Maria and I can talk about anything. However hard or weird. And people like that don’t come around often. Of course, plus everything above,” he adds. They agreed that if they got to 35 years of age and were both not yet married or with anyone else, they would have a child.
But Daudi didn’t want to wait. In May, he asked what the difference between then and when they turned 35 years was. They decided to date, to see how it would go.
There was no end to the outings and the conversation was kept alive as they ate, drunk and talked.
“I enjoyed his company. He is brilliant. Daudi’s brain works differently! He is God fearing. we still argue about Christianity and yes, we are both Christians. I have a 10 year-old-son who he adores. He has a very kind, compassionate and generous heart. If he is down to his last Shs100, 000, he will give me Shs90, 000 and survive on Shs10, 000,” she says admiringly.
The transition from friendship to a dating path didn’t seem to make much change.
“There was no difference. But we kept doing the same things we did,” he says.
She didn’t care much for the transition either.
“I don’t remember an actual first date. Monday night drinks maybe.”
The two would talk about growing up and how it’s a trap, the things they both love about growing up, the struggles of being an adult- generally, and how it should be.
With these seemingly simple conversations, love was nurtured and grew, morphing into commitment. There was no pressure and no conventional paths. There were no events to it, no proposal.
“When we decided that marriage is what we wanted, I chose a ring and we bought it,” she recounts.
The couple got married in June this year. The two have set out to have a marriage as a simple partnership with no expectations, no gender roles, deliberately creating ‘me-time’ and having open communication channels.
“Everyone has a different relationship and you should do what works for you. And if what you do is a mistake, it’s your mistake. You learn and grow,” Daudi notes.