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Story of love brewed in sugarcane field that warmed hearts

When 27-year-old Ramadhan ‘Ramzi’ Mohamed first gathered the courage to approach the girl of his dreams, he was wearing a pair of shorts and no shoes as he grazed his father’s cows near a sugar cane field somewhere in Kakamega.

When he spotted Eshah Gelleh, 25, walking back home from work, he decided to make his move.

“I rose up from where I lay and threw away the grazing stick so that she would not notice I was grazing the cows.”

No sooner had he made his move than he heard the unmistakable vroom vroom that her guardian’s car engine made as he drove home.

Eshah’s uncle had no time for young men in the village, believing that they had nothing good to offer her but misery.

To save his skin, Ramadhan ran into the nearby cane farm. The cane leaves lacerated his skin and he had no choice but to go home and lick his wounds, so to speak.

“The following day I had to go to the hospital for stitching and dressing of my wounds,” he says in the essay that has won him and his lover a Sh2.5 million treat from the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi.


As he was waiting for his turn at the lobby for outpatients at the Mumias Model Dispensary, he discovered, to his shock, that was where Eshah worked, and yes, she was the one seeing patients that day.

“When it was my turn to be attended to, I limped to her desk and as she looked up, what looked like a smile formed on her face,” Ramadhan says in the essay that trumped 600 others to win the Valentine’s Day give-away in the fortnight-long competition dubbed “The Greatest Love Story.”

It so happened that Eshah, then 23, had sworn to herself that she would not get into a love relationship before turning 23.

“I had a checklist; of course a Muslim man, good-looking, educated and courageous. Until then I had never met someone with all these characteristics,” she says in the same essay.

On that day, the first thing she noticed about Ramadhan was the cut just below his left knee.

“Then I recalled that face from the previous day, and the events that unfolded,” she says.

But what did it for her was the fact that he first spoke to her in Arabic. The rest, as they say, is history.

On Friday, the two were unveiled as the winners of the Sh2.5 million package by the hotel that once hosted Obama when he became the first US President to visit Kenya.


“It is all so overwhelming,” said an overjoyed Ramadhan, a clerical assistant at the Kakamega County Assembly.

“When I saw that I was winning on the final day of the competition, I was so nervous that I switched my phone off in the event that we got a Hillary-Trump situation.”

Their story, which was published on the Villa Rosa Kempinski Facebook page, garnered 700 votes from the public.

On Friday, they were basking in the joy of their victory and a new chapter in their love story.

“She is an amazing human being. She has a great personality. She is beautiful and she is an excellent cook,” said Ramadhan.

The pair is looking forward to their Valentine’s Day treat, which will begin with a pick up by a convoy of limousines after which they will be accompanied by security, a butler and a lady in red to the hotel for a VIP check-in.

They will have nothing but pampering and exquisite food — including an eight course dinner at the hotel’s roof top restaurant. The couple will then spend the night in the presidential suite.

“I hope this will be our dream Valentine’s,” said Ramadhan who took Eshah to the Kisumu Impala Park for their first date two years ago.