We all love a good grass to grace story, and for Emma, her fortunes changed after a brief trip abroad. She lives in Norway with her family where she works and also gets to cultivate her land.
She appeared on an episode of Daring Abroad by Alex Chamwada, where she narrated her journey from Mbale in Vihiga County to Rakkestad in Norway. Emma is a special needs teacher and also dabbles in farming.
Emma lives with her husband, Christian in Rakkestad – a small town about 50 km from Oslo, the capital city of Norway. Here is her story as told by WoK.
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Emma grew up in a single parent family. She was raised by her mother together with her seven siblings, three girls and four boys.
During the interview, she revealed that some of her sisters were married off at the age of 14, 15, since their mother could not afford the fees to educate them all. Emma dropped out of school after joining Form Four due to lack of school fees.
Journey to Norway
That is when she moved to Nairobi and began work as a househelp. It was in Nairobi that she joined an evangelical organisation called Life Ministries as a singer. In 2000 a trip came about that would change her life for good.
“We toured Norway, singing and evangelising. Three weeks before we could go back to Kenya, I met my husband,” Emma narrated.
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“We fell in love with each other, and we got married a year after,” Emma’s husband said.
Theirs is a case of love at first sight. They were from different cultural backgrounds, continents, races and despite all that, they were determined to be with each other.
“My Kenyan pastor had asked me to promise him that if I come to Norway I would not get married here. Honestly speaking I was not supposed to come get married here in Norway,” Emma conceded.
Her husband noted that in their community in Rakkestad, people there were not used to marrying from African communities, rather not used to being with Africans.
Emma’s husband, Ole Christian, did not hesitate to visit her family in Mbale. He paid the dowry of six cows. They also bought a plot for the parents and built them a house.
Christian has been to Mbale once since the family moved to Eldoret. They visit them from time to time. From over two decades of marriage, he understands a few words in Luhya.
The couple has four children; two boys and two girls.
Emma’s life transformed for the better after the move to Norway. She has a job, a family, and a farm. She credits God with how her life turned out.
“I decided to turn my life to God. It is a miracle and I’m so grateful to be in Norway. Also I am able to help my family back in Kenya,” Emma stated.
“When you have a vision in your head, it comes to pass, because I knew one day I’m going to become somebody. Now I have gone to school and I deal with children with special needs,” she said.
Christian seems to have understood the Luhya culture really well.
“I know that if you are a Luhya, you have not eaten before you have had ugali. Ugali is very important. You can ask someone if they have eaten and you have given them bread and other things but they’ll say ‘no, I have not eaten’ until they have gotten ugali,” he said, eliciting laughter from Chamwada and his team.
Behind the house is the kitchen garden where Emma grows kales (Sukuma week). She revealed that she got the seeds from Kenya. She only farms the vegetables for a period of three months during the summer. Nothing grows there during winter.
The family also grows wheat on about 50 acres of land. The crop is grown for commercial purposes and planting is timed to coincide with the end of summer.
Emma and her husband also own a 100 acre forest. When not at his place of work, Emma’s husband can be found at the forest logging.
“I work for the community. I work with mentally disbabled people. I assist two autists,” Emma’s husband told Chamwada.