It was love at first sight. The sight of a lanky, rungu-wielding warrior draped on a red shuka and sporting neatly braided hair must have left her gasping with excitement.
She had heard fairy tales about African warriors and could not let go of this one.
But Miriam Elisabeth Winkel now regrets the decision she made that evening in 2008, a year after she arrived in Kenya from her home in Netherlands.
Winkel, 46, had moved to Kenya in 2007 on a mission to improve education standards and development in Samburu.
Through the Samburu Empowerment through Education and Development (SEED), a community-based organisation which she helped to register in May 2007, she hoped to transform the lives of local pastoralists.
Within a year she fell in love with a youngSamburu man who was then working as a night guard at a hotel in Maralal, where she was residing.Â
The relationship blossomed and culminated in a marriage consumated on July 31, 2008. Ms Winkel got married to John Lepil Lolkile, 24, at a colourful ceremony at Maralal district commissioner headquarters.
She acquired several plots in Maralal, which were all registered in Lepilâs name. The marriage has now hit theÂ rocks and the two are embroiled in a divorce suit.
Lepil, currently a member of the Samburu County Assembly, last year married another wife throughSamburu customary marriage a decision which rocked their four-year-old marriage.Â Â
Ms Winkel first approached the court at the beginning of this year after Lepil allegedly forced her out of their matrimonial home and threatened her with violence.
In the divorce papers, Ms Winkel has asked the High Court to dissolve their marriage citing cruelty from her husband.
She cited suffering she has allegedly endured at the hands of her husband after he married a Samburu lady in customary marriage.
She wants the court to distribute the nine plots in Maralal town, livestock, two motor vehicles and other properties owned by the family.
Incidentally, Ms Winkel tells the court the property in question was bought through her sole efforts though they are registered in her husbandâs name.
Â âOut of my knowledge I was only aware of their one son born on May 2011 who I arranged to adopt,â she says.
In response, Lepil hasÂ Â asserted that Winkel abandoned her duties as a wife and argues theÂ property is his. He further tells the court Ms Winkel deserted the matrimonial home on her own choice and abdicated her wifely duties of washing and cooking; besides denying him conjugal rights.
Justice Hellen Omondi has already ordered Winkel to move back with her three children to the matrimonial home pending determination of the divorce case.-standardmedia.co.ke