This One


Kenyans are not given to the ooey gooey in their affections. Their dignity is simply too great.

There is an expression I learned in Kenya that has really stayed with me. When introducing or speaking of a person you care for, especially while they are present, you refer to them as “this one.” It is said in a way that is indefinably charming. There is something between a smile and smirk that accompanies the phrase, and it signifies love.

For example, I might ask Fred Kitanga how long he has been a married man. His reply, if his wife Rose were anywhere around, would almost certainly be, “It was in 1969 that I found this one.” The smallest, most gentle gesture of his hand toward her would likely be seen.

Maybe what I like about this expression is that it seems to imply a sense of pride on the part of the speaker.

A moment I deeply relished in my relationship with my wife was when I was able to introduce her to my Kenyan host family, the Malukis. “I have brought you…this one,” I said.

Maybe what I like about it is that it holds up this person as something worthy of serious attention. In my mind, it elevates the target person to a nearly illicit degree of grandiosity. Upon sight of the person no further explanation is necessary. The excellence is patently obvious. Take a moment to consider this one…if you dare.

It is one year now that I have been the husband of my wife, Maureen. For the moment, in this blog, all that I will say is that I am so very glad I found this one:


3 Responses to “This One”

  1. clark Says:

    a grand expression, indeed. well said. congratulations on year one.

  2. hannah Says:

    could it follow then that when i introduce the lunn’s to someone new, i could say “these two”? because you both certainly hold that level of gradiosity for me. congratulations my friend on finding the one, and to many more years with that one.

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