It was like a mad rush for a rare commodity. Pushing and shoving, hundreds of women, dressed in their latest fashions forcefully made their way into the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).
It was a Friday afternoon and from the immaculate handbags strapped on their shoulders, it was easy to tell that most of them had literally left their places of work early.
The city had been abuzz with news that a charismatic pastor from Nigeria was having a special service for “serious’ singles — and there was a chance to hook up with someone at his service.
Yes, to many, it was worth putting everything aside to attend this service. Hadn’t the national census results a few days earlier shattered a myth that many women were still single because there were far fewer men?
With the numbers showing that the ratio of men to women was one to one, Pastor Chris Ojigbani’s initial message that there was a man for every woman was easy to swallow.
In a near pandemonium, about 10,000 women fought for space at the KICC’s Plenary Hall to listen to sermons that ranged from how to get and keep a man, to the art of dating, and how to keep the fire of love burning.
The Saturday Magazine team engaged some women who attended the two-day service last weekend to find out more about why Kenyan women, especially in Nairobi, are still waiting for the right man to come their way.
Adiline Mudibo, 31, businesswoman and social worker
I have always had a mindset about being single and I came to hear what the pastor has to say about it. From the lessons I have learnt - especially on getting the right man, I have been empowered to prepare my mind about sticking to one partner.
Young people have been moving away from their culture of respecting the sanctity of marriage and that is why there are a lot of problems in today’s young marriages. From the service, I have been encouraged that it is possible to get the right man and keep him.
Although I travelled from Monrovia in Liberia to catch up with the pastor, it has not been in vain. My greatest achievement today is to acquire the knowledge of how to pray for a man who will keep me happy.
From now on, I will be looking forward to meeting a man who is God-fearing and who one who is able to take care of my emotional needs. It is important for me to have a person who when I cry, wipes my tears away and when I laugh, he laughs with me. That’s my prayer.
Martha Anjela, student of design
I have been in several relationships but somehow, I find that things are not going the right way. And before I know it, my partner has moved on with someone else. Many women have a big challenge trying to maintain a relationship as they are unable to manage all the expectations of their partners.
Personally, fulfilling expectations has been a problem. I came to listen to the pastor on the subject of the art of getting a man and keeping him. All of us who are single have been in a relationship at one time or another and it is a fact that the relationships broke down because of how it was managed or mismanaged.
I think getting tips of how to get out of singlehood is one of the greatest lessons one can give to women. I have been assured that every woman has her own man tucked away somewhere and this thing of men being fewer than women is a myth. As women, we need to know how to keep the men we get involved with.
When I was leaving the school where I teach in Ngong, I expected to find an assurance here that indeed, I am not alone in this (lack of a man) and that I need to put just in extra effort and pray for the right man to come my way. I have prayed a lot for that today.
Alice Mwali, 27, purchasing and supplies professional
From our Umoja home, the least I expected from this special service was to meet a good man right here.
I am not really desperate just to get a man. My problem is to get a man who trusts that I am capable of being his best woman.
I would not mind getting someone to propose to me before the end of the service and even if I do not get one today, I hope it will be in the near future.
I am just smarting out of a relationship that lasted for about a year. I opted to leave the man because he could not trust me with anything.
For example, if he called me right now and I told him I am at KICC, he would openly express his doubts.
Add to this a retort that he hopes I am not with another man and you get the portrait of what I mean. I had to leave him eventually because he was too insecure for me.
He was not sensitive and I do not think he respected me.
I want a man who respects women in general and one who works hard. This city is increasingly getting more men who are not working hard enough and it is worse for those with working women.
I also dream of a man who is God fearing and loving—I mean a man who can show me genuine affection at all times.
Rebecca Wanjiru, 26, Beauty therapist
At 26, I have been in several relationships and although they did not work, I have not lost hope. The last one was quite demoralising as it was leading to marriage before the guy suddenly went silent. We had even done preliminary visits to our parents and he was to bring bride price in August.
The major problem is that he felt I was not of his class as he was studying for a Master’s Degree while I am a college graduate.
This difference in our levels of education contributed to his withdrawal and on many occasions, he kept saying I had all the qualities of a good woman but thought I was not “ industrious enough”.
I did not understand this.
By demonstrating that there is a man for each of us, the pastor has really encouraged me.
I came here to get insights on where I could be going wrong as a woman. I am not saying all the men are bad and was keen to be told where my weaknesses could be.
The lesson on the devices that prolong single hood is dear to me. I am now ready to settle and start my own family.
However, I am not ready to date a Kenyan man as the ones I have encountered have failed me. I am looking forward to a Nigerian or white man.
I believe they will give me a different experience.
Jessica Musingi, 26, nurse
My problem with men in this city is that they are becoming increasingly irresponsible. Long gone are the days a man would cater for all his woman’s needs, both financially and emotionally.
It is getting worse for those of us who are working and seem to have settled in their careers.
Men get scared of stable women and this is a sign of insecurity.
I keep wondering exactly what men want. For example, for me, I do not need a man to be paying my bills or buying clothes for me. I am able to handle that.
Now when a man sees that a woman can do several things on her own, I think they feel threatened. And at the same time, they do not want a woman who nags with financial demands. Can we stop making our personal lives better for fear of scaring away men?
Personally, I am praying for a Christian and a responsible man. I have also prayed for a man who does not lie. I want a man whose house I can access any time without having to make calls in advance. Those men who always receive you in their house at particular times of the week, month or year could be cheats.
When I came to hear the pastor, I was looking for someone to guide me on how to enrich myself spiritually and possibly learn more about handling love—It is proving a delicate affair for many women.
Caroline Sila, businesswoman
Although I have been married for seven years, I came there o acquire more knowledge about how to keep my family intact.
I have interacted with many women here and had a chance to also read the pastor’s book Spiritual Warfare. It is a great book.
Listening to the pastor, I have leant more tips on how to treat my husband. It is a skill that one cannot ignore as he (the pastor) insists that we must try to keep the fire of love burning even in marriage. It is where the rain is beating women.
For single women, they must be prayerful and wait for the Lord to show them the right man. They must exhibit focus and patience in their search for a man. This is because getting a man may not be the problem, but getting a man who suits your life.