My “Black (Happy) Friday…”
While most shoppers in the United States (and sadly now shoppers in the United Kingdom) were out fighting other consumers for $100 televisions and buy-one-get-one-free comforter sets, I was preparing to pop-the-question to my girlfriend! I decided on Thanksgiving weekend because that time has sentimental value as it was the time when Sheila Mutesi was introduced to me – not in person but in theory…
Five years ago, I was asked to serve as a groomsman in the wedding of my friend Myal Greene. The wedding was in Rwanda and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be in his wedding (and experience a cultural wedding – meaning not in the U.S.). As it turns out, Sheila was also in Myal and Sharon’s wedding…but as a hostess. Sheila and I never uttered a word to each other during the wedding. We have since discovered that during one of the post wedding ceremonies, we were standing next to each other…
Sheila is in the red, touching her shoe. Next to her holding the camera is me…we had no clue what the future held at that time.
Flash forward to November 2013…I had recently moved to South Sudan and was spending Thanksgiving with Myal and Sharon. During dinner one night, Myal and Sharon introduced a very interesting scenario…a pseudo-blind date with one of their friends. We were unable to set up anything during that trip so I completely changed my Christmas vacation to make sure I would be back in Kigali for New Years to met Sheila. Strangely, I actually met Sheila at her house because Myal and Sharon were visiting her mom who was recovering from a brief illness. It was a bit uncomfortable but a few nights later we had dinner with Myal and Sharon to celebrate New Years. After our meeting at New Years, it would be another 8 months before we met again. The situation in South Sudan at the time had me bouncing around the world until I landed in Nigeria. It was one of the factors that contributed to my unhappiness in Nigeria.
During that time, we chatted through Facebook, Whatsapp, and on the phone. In August 2014, I made a trip to Rwanda to make sure she was interested in Sentell and we officially started dating in January 2015. Since that time, we have been crisscrossing the African continent spending random weekends together and celebrating each other’s birthdays. I decided in August that I wanted to ask Sheila to be my wife and started planning for that moment.
Because of my busy work schedule, I settled on Thanksgiving weekend because I would be able to step away from work for a few days. I had the help of Myal and Sharon, Sheila’s best friend and brother to pull off the surprise. I had her friend set up a dinner with her on Friday night. Sheila had no clue that I was in the country. When her friend stepped away from the table, I approached Sheila and asked, “having dinner without me?” She was completely shocked and it took her nearly 15 minutes to calm her down before I was able to “pop the question.” When I finally did, she said yes! And here we are…its sometimes hard to believe that I’m engaged to be married! But I am blessed to find a woman who loves me and willing to look pass my faults.
Photos from the proposal.
So Sheila and I are now planning to spend our lives together. Wedding details are still incomplete but we will be sharing those details very soon. We would appreciate your prayers during this busy time for couples. There are a lot of details…even choosing various shades of colors!