Stories abound of Kenyan women whose hearts melt and knees become weak seconds after a man introduces himself to them as a foreigner, preferably a white man, a West African (especially a Nigerian or Ghanian) or a Congolese. Most Kenyan women accuse their male counterparts for not being romantic, caring and loving. And they take it as holy writ that foreign men are a better deal. Unfortunately, some rogue foreigners have discovered this weakness in Kenyan women, and are now milking it for all its worth; using and dumping them with appalling impunity. Some of these women allegedly ‘give it up’ on the very first night of their meeting with the said foreigners and before they know it, they have been dumped!
Take the case of Rose Atieno. She could not resist when Yemi Adesanmi, a man who introduced himself as a Yoruba from Nigeria hit on her. He was irresistible, she says, and his accent alone not only tickled but excited her.
“No man speaks in as a way as sweet as Yemi. He had a sexy accent,” she says. “Besides the accent, there is just something very charming about him. I fell for him instantly. The next day we were at his house, enjoying ourselves. In less than a week, Yemi had vanished. I don’t know what happened.”
Yemi’s apartment turned out to be a house rented by a different chap who deals with imports from Nigeria. How could he fizzle out on her like that, leaving her high on teenage stirrings of romance? It is a question that Atieno is yet to find an answer to. There are more Kenyan neighbourhoods, especially in Nairobi, that teem with brothers from far west. You need not investigate them to know where they come from; they are loud and their accent tells their nationality.
Many Kenyan women currently date Nigerian, Ghanian or Congolese men. A good example is a popular socialite who claims to be dating an oil tycoon from Nigeria. She, of course, is definitely (at least for now?) enjoying an oiled life. That, coupled with a tweet that went viral by a famous Kenyan TV girl that she has eyes only for foreigners because Kenyan men score last in her list of those who know how to take care of a lady, provokes questions that deserve answers. What is so special about foreign men? Many men wonder. Atieno is not alone. In the leafy suburb of Kileleshwa, not long ago, Eunice Njeri became easy prey for a man of Norwegian origin. “He told me I was beautiful and bright. Every day we bumped into each other, he took my hand and kissed it.
Every other week I would receive a bouquet of colourful flowers – with a card that told of his love for me and how special I was in his heart,” a giggly Rose says, as she talks to this writer over coffee. The said man (name withheld), now relatively well known in the business circles, has a sweet tongue, and plays his cards close to his chest. Sly and witty, he took his time and showed no interest to rush Njeri to bed.
For over three months, the man straddled the fringes of her life; posing with the character of a caring man interested in a long-term relationship. When he was done ‘babysitting’ her with love, he invited her to his palatial house. She didn’t resist, even slightly, his lecherous moves. At last, the long-term relationship was consummated.
Living in bliss
Then came the time to unleash the truth. “You know Eunice,” she recalls the man saying, “I often host friends from abroad and they love meeting Kenyan girls over here. Could you be coming to our parties along with a few friends?” A befuddled Eunice went back home.
Overnight, she kept thinking how he had treated her well. He had no ill motives, she convinced herself. And so she agreed to bring her friends along to her boyfriend’s ‘harmless’ parties. She was living in bliss and she didn’t want to think of it as a lie. She was shocked to find out months later that her knight in shining armour was actually running a brothel-like entity for pay. He had been strapped of cash, and was getting evicted off the premise. She confronted him. But there was nothing much to extract from her lover as he rolled his suitcase into a cab en route to the airport.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that he was actually flying back to his country without informing me or caring to explain what had just happened,” says a distraught Njeri.
Husband and wife
Meet Mwanaidi Kadze from Mombasa. Her story, though not quite similar to Njeri’s, has all the makings of wealth-related unions. She met an Italian tourist while working at a beach resort in Malindi. Mascimilano (as she pronounces his name) charmed her and proposed that they live as husband and wife. He floated the idea with her that they rent a block of land not far from the ocean line to put up a restaurant for business. She left her meagre salary behind and swooped in on the sweet life that stood before her.
“The lease was in my name since he was a foreigner. Putting up the restaurant was not a problem really.”
When the business was up and running, Kadze became the manager of the enterprise. In the meantime, her prince charming enjoyed full benefits that come with ‘marriage’, though they didn’t consummate the union legally. A few months later, and with the business doing well, Mascimilano flew back to Italy with a promise “to come back and settle with her, have children and live happily ever after.” That was the last time she heard his voice. He took off with all the money, which he apparently needed for a return ticket and to ferry his few belongings from Italy. She gave up waiting for him and the lease ended just a month later, forcing her to resume the hard life of fending for herself.
A few years ago in Nairobi, there was a Chinese revolution swirling along the sides of Thika Road Superhighway. Just as fast as the cars that glide on its tarmac, the road construction workers from the Oriental powerhouse were quick at luring Kenyan women into their beds. The story of the girl who gave birth to a baby with Chinese features, and couldn’t identify the man responsible rings true.
The notion that Chinese is synonymous with ‘fake’ apparently has no ground on your way to Thika. The Chinese came, built the road, and left behind a generation that may never know who really fathered them. Gladys Wanjiku, from Githurai, had to stop her studies at a university located off Thika Road after she fell pregnant, thanks to a Chinese foreman who supervised work to remodel the former Githurai roundabout into an overpass.
She hoped he would propose and marry her but the man gave her money to stop pestering him because he had a family back in Guangzhou and he is only allowed to have a maximum of one child back in his country. Gladys is just part of lingering statistics that show Kenyans easily falling prey to foreigners and their whims – for nothing more than the promise of bliss or a good life. However, it is not all gloom and doom, as some have had great relationships with foreigners, which end up in happy marriages.