When the paging announcement to passengers connecting to Belgium through the Heathrow airport signaled delays in flight due to the recent heat waves in Europe, East African-born Joseph knew he was in for the long haul of a test of his patience.
It was his first trip abroad after landing a lucrative job with an extractive company in Brussels, Belgium after a short stint with them in Kenya. The grim mood that set him after learning of the hours his flight would delay was soon lit by a Kenyan flag bracelet on his wrist which caught the attention of a Black animator based in Belgium.
According to Joseph, he was dazed when he heard a soothing voice of a female beckoning to him. He describes the moment as being snapped out of trance by the lovely voice of the animator.
“I lost my voice momentarily because I was dazed by her beauty. It was like that moment where you get a seizure because your emotions would not allow you to be yourself,” he said.
Joseph finally found his voice to chip a weak whisper of “hey” knowing fully he had been dumbstruck by a collage of a beautiful voice and priceless work of art.
The animator based in Belgium who gave her name only as Shani was quoted by the Associated Press as indicating that Joseph’s Kenyan flag bracelet urged her to initiate a conversation with him. They were both stranded at the Heathrow airport, but, she thought to herself, a trophy of heritage on the hand of a stranger could only mean he was Kenyan like herself.
Shani said it was easy to start a conversation on that note. According to her, she was Kenyan from Mombasa. Joseph recalled that, when she uttered those words, all he heard was the thumping of his heart and further sinking into momentary oblivion.
“Boy, I felt my heart racing. I nearly responded my name was Yosefu, when we began the introduction” he added.
He said his only memory of that moment wasn’t being stranded as a first-time traveler, but, the angelic feature and the dazzling white teeth Shani displayed anytime she laughed during their conversation in Swahili.
Shani was en route to Antwerp, 45 kilometers away and nearly an hour away from where he would be stationed with the mining and energy company in Brussels. Joseph said he had to make the first move at wooing when she enquired what informed his decision to migrate to Belgium.
“I told her one of the early decisions I intend making after earning money is remitting some home and saving for her dowry,” he intimated.
That was the beginning of their beautiful journey to marriage, according to him.
He added that Shani reciprocated the feeling by also asking whether he would be a tour guide when he finally settled in Belgium.
“I can’t be more grateful for that fateful. It has blessed me with one of the beautiful smiles I see every morning when I wake up,” he remarked.