NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Michael Edward Ranneberger’s tour of duty may have come to an end but his heart remains in Kenya where he has planted the cultural “maasai spear” at a homestead in rural Transmara.
The outgoing envoy met and fell in love with Ruth Konchellah during his stay, and their love was evident at his farewell party last week.
Ms Konchellah who runs Cherish Others Organisation in Transmara said the two met in 2009 when she invited him for a fundraising walk against female genital mutilation. The seven-kilometre walk, together, blossomed into romance.
He is my better half, a friend and a companion. When he was discovering Africa, I was discovering the first world love. Michael you are so loving and caring and you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” she said giggling.
Ms Konchellah, who will accompany Amb Ranneberger as he leaves the country on May 4, added that the Ambassador was a humble man who loved indiscriminately. She said he was a gentle soul who made time for everyone regardless of who they were.
“He loves without favour; from the mighty to the shoe shiner. I’ve seen him host a shoe shiner who works somewhere on the streets of Nairobi. Michael you are so great and we love you so much as a nation and I love you personally,” she said.
The sweet words from his darling, however seemed to have tied the ambassador’s tongue who lost words when he finally stepped onto the podium.
“Well… what an introduction. I have never had an introduction like that before and as Jeff Koinange would say what a show,” he quipped.
The sparks between the two were also evident during the entire ceremony and they could not keep away from each other for too long.
Speculation that the two were an item had been doing the rounds for a while. Ms Konchellah often accompanied the ambassador on his out-of-town tours and even helped host some of his receptions at his residence.
Various politicians, heads of missions and heads of civil societies attended the ceremony. They all commended the ambassador for his works in the country, bid him farewell before presenting him with gifts.
Among the gifts was a momento from House Speaker Kenneth Marende and writings from the Global Giveback Circle.
“I would like to propose a toast to the continued help and prosperity of Your Excellency Michael Ranneberger, your family and greater friendship,” said Mr Marende.
“We hope that you will remain faithful as we endeavour to embrace the same values. Thank you very much and bon voyage,” said Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai.
“Thank you for giving us wings to fly. We shall continue flapping them and we hope you do the same thing too,” said Wilkista Akinyi of the Global Giveback Circle.