On Saturday, I made an early start to do my weekly shop in the market. I had just turned the corner when I saw a couple fifty metres ahead. The young man turned to the young woman, her face came up to look into his eyes and they kissed. They were obviously oblivious to onlookers. You do not see this sort of behaviour in public in Kenya.
I kept walking towards them and to afford them some privacy, I ostentatiously covered my eyes with the palm of my hand. The lovers disengaged, holding hands for a second and then he turned towards town and she walked back to where they had come from.
Another young woman walking towards me saw what I had done and giggled.
I followed the young man up the hill, along the muddy track by the HIV Children’s Orphanage, past the coffin makers and behind the District Hospital. I was just about to catch up with him when he turned around and addressed me, saying “Is kissing against the law? Is it a crime?”
I said, “Hello, good morning (always important to start with a greeting). Of course it isn’t. It was refreshing to see two people demonstrating their love for each other. It just doesn’t happen that often in public here.”
“By covering my eyes I was trying to give you some privacy, but I admit it was done in a cheeky, humorous way. I hope you were not offended.”
He smiled and said he wasn’t offended. “What are you doing in our country?” he asked.
“Mimi ni Daktari,” I said. “What about you?”
He told me he was training to be a teacher and he had classes on Saturdays.
We came to a fork in the road. I went right, he went left. I called to him, “Make sure you concentrate on your studies, not your girlfriend!”
He laughed and said, “I will, don’t worry.”