Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Ambassador Ranneberger: “The nation of Kenya loves you and I love you Your Excellency”

Hopefully in the future, this beautiful Maasai woman will just call him Mike, and Mike can stop blushing.

The Kenyan press was abuzz over the weekend with public confirmations that the outgoing and longest-serving U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger is now spoken for.

Shortly after Ambassador Ranneberger arrived in Kenya, he gave a speech on Countering Female Genital Mutilation Anti-FGM Run in Kilgoris:

Kilgoris and Enoosaen are special places to the American people, since it was in Enoosaen that the Masaai donated 14 cattle to "ease the pain and suffering" of the people of New York following the attacks. It was during my visit here last September that I learned of the programs of Cherish Others, an organization led by a dynamic lady named Ruth Konchellah, that is working hard to bring equality and dignity to Kenyan girls, particularly in TransMara. So when Cherish Others asked me to participate in the walk and run that we just concluded, I jumped at the chance to support it.
Active links added above. That "dynamic lady" named Ruth Konchellah. That's the one.

From the Nairobi Star:
Ruth Konchellah was flustered as she stood at the podium to address guests who attended outgoing US ambassador Michael Ranneberger's farewell party at his Muthaiga home on Thursday night. For starters, someone had misplaced her speech and she was therefore going to have to talk on the fly.

Secondly, there was the buzz of expectation that finally she would put to rest the public speculation that she and Ranneberger were more than just close friends.

She did not disappoint. Ruth spoke about her charity Cherish Others which aims at fighting against the continued practice of female genital mutilation especially in her home, Narok.
But its only in recent months that the two have been spotted in public together giving rise to speculation that they were not only an 'item' but that he had even paid dowry to her family.

The attendance of a function in Narok by Ruth and  Ranneberger's daughter from a previous marriage fuelled more speculation about the relationship.  Reports of dowry payment were quickly squashed by some members of the extended Konchellah clan and he couple has since remained tight-lipped on their association. Ranneberger studiously refused to comment on the relationship during a farewell interview he granted to the Star last weekend.

On Thursday night Ruth Konchellah confirmed that she and Micheal were partners. “The nation of Kenya loves you and I love you Your Excellency,” she said as the diplomat blushed a deep red colour before hugging and kissing her in front of the gathered guests who seemed taken aback before they enthusiastically applauded the couple.
From the Daily Nation:
As US ambassador to Kenya, Michael Edward Ranneberger, flies out of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Washington this Wednesday, he has one message for Kenyans: “I will be back.”

The outgoing envoy tells Saturday Nation that he fell in love with the East African country for three reasons. The most important — he got a soul mate, Ms Ruth Konchellah, in Kenya, a country he now has a soft spot for and can’t cut links with.

“On a personal level, I have been fortunate to become a king to a certain lady, and she became a queen to me. That, to me, is a very fulfilling experience,” he says.

Although he remains largely non-committal as to when Kenyans would expect something concrete between him and Ms Konchellah, he promises that it would be in due course.

“I will keep everybody posted on that. I don’t want to say much about it at this point. It has been interesting. These things happen. Opportunities come by and one can only be grateful when these things happen that way,” he says.
Ambassador Ranneberger who is quite active on Twitter is understandably silent on this subject to his tweeps. 

Last year, I posted a slideshow here of Ambassador Ranneberger honored by Maasai elders.   But not only are the photos labeled "All Rights Reserved," a favorite pet peeve that shows either the embassy's rules-ignorance or lack of oversight, the photos also have no captions! Is there somebody we ought to recognize here?

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Photos from US Embassy Kenya/Flickr      

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