What you need to know:
Evaline and Innocent Ampaire met and fell in love with each other simply because they had so much in common. When he finally made up his mind to ask for her hand in marriage, a bus journey almost got in the way since he ended up being an hour late. However, Evaline was patient and today, they are happily married.
The first time they met, he was on a safari.
“He was tracking mountain gorillas in Buhoma, in the northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and after the safari, he visited a community where I was working as a secretary. During that first meeting, although he did not say much, I fell in love with this tall, modest, and polite man. He asked for my phone number and giving it to him was our ‘starting point,” Evaline Kemigisha, now wife to Innocent Ampeire, says.
Evaline says she was impressed by the way Innocent carried himself. He was honest and smartly dressed carrying a camera and binoculars. He greeted her and asked about the possibility of touring the tea plantation in the community. She was happy to be his guide.
“I am married to the most beautiful woman; the queen of my heart with whom we have two beautiful children,” Innocent says.
The two lovebirds hail from Kabale in western Uganda. Evaline was born and raised in Buhara village while Innocent comes from Bigaaga village. Work and chemistry ignited their love journey.
Ampeire works for Chimpanzee Trust as an assistant sanctuary manager in charge of animal welfare. He is also a wildlife photographer and a tourist guide with desire to teach people the ways of wildlife through the lens. His wife is a businesswoman and supports her husband by promoting tour guiding services and wildlife photography.
After interacting with her for some time, Innocent found many reasons to fall in love and commit to loving Evaline. “She is God-fearing, loving, beautiful, caring, compassionate, a problem solver, hardworking and respectful. “A combination of these won my heart,” he adds.
When his heart was convinced she was the one, he started planning a proposal. To effect this, he took days off work. He travelled by bus to Kabale Town and met her at a restaurant. Although the food was delicious, Innocent stayed focused on his mission.
“At the restaurant, overlooking some terraces, we kept talking about different things, including how we had played on those hills as children. Then, he got down on one knee and surprised me with a proposal to become his wife. I had, of course, dreamed of this day but it was now that it had become reality,” an elated Kemigisha recollects.
The marriage proposal turned out the way he had planned. “God was on our side. All the plans worked perfectly except time. Because I travelled by bus, which took longer to reach Kabale, I kept requesting her to wait, so she waited for nearly an hour before I finally arrived,” Innocent says.
She did not hesitate to accept his proposal because right from the start, she had loved the fact that Innocent was honest, hardworking, committed, and from their interactions, she had made up her mind that he would make a wonderful husband. The memories of his proposal are still fresh and beautiful.
“She was very specific and had answers to all my questions. When I asked her if she will manage waking up early every morning and spend hours on the farm, she said her parents had introduced her to all necessary skills including digging so that was not a problem at all. I knew that I had found a unique wife,” Innocent recounts.
How did he change her perception of love?
Evaline says Innocent showed and proved to her that love is caring and it goes beyond the obvious because even when times are hard, he still provides for the family.
“Our marriage is strengthened by prayer as a family. Marriage is made strong when God is put first and prayers complement hard work. There will be diverse challenges in marriage but these are easily solved by a couple than one individual. For better financial management in a home, there is a need to forego certain things in order to get the most important ones,” she adds.
Ampeire too had been looking forward to a marriage where God was first in everything, a marriage based on love, mutual respect, and understanding as key yardsticks. He has learnt a lot and is open to learning more.
“Love is like a cake that is made of different ingredients; to have a happy marriage, there is a definite need to listen and advise one another. Money is not the only important requirement for a happy relationship. It only contributes to the quality of marriage,” Innocent observes.
Evaline says they look forward to building their family house, providing better education for their children and growing their business.
Evaline and Innocent say they share parenting roles, with each having ample time with the children. They teach them life lessons such as hard work. Every time the children do something good, their parents appreciate them with a reward.
“When my wife is busy, I spend time with children. We sometimes walk together or go out as a family. Our son loves animals and although he is young, we are teaching him the basics of identifying animals. We go to the farm as a family so that our children learn the importance of farming. For learning purposes, we also allow them to watch specific television channels,” says Innocent.