When George Limiri, a Kenyan met his wife American-born and raised Mekenze Limiri in Las Vegas, US in 2012, he never thought she would ever move to his village in Meru.
Meru County is on the slopes of Mt Kenya. It was a white settler haven in the pre-colonial era. Today, this county is synonymous with the growing of Khat – locally known as miraa. Khat is a mild stimulant grown for purposes of export to countries like Somalia.
Besides Khat growing, Meru soil is very fertile and the main economic activity here is farming. Nevertheless, fate would have it that the couple would spend the rest of their lives in a small village known as Kibirichi.
How Did George Limiri and Mekenze Limiri Meet?
As stated earlier, George Limiri and Mekenze Limiri met in Las Vegas in 2012, they tell Nation in an interview. George was operating a record label at the time to test his entrepreneurial skills after enrolling at the University of Georgia in 2005. He was looking at making a life for himself and music gave him his first shot at the business.
Mekenze always loved music since she was a little girl. She took part in many music competitions when growing up in Utah. She met George through a mutual friend who told her that a buddy of his [now George] was looking for a vocalist.
“We met through a mutual friend. George was looking for a vocalist and this friend told me about it. I grew up singing, so when I heard of the opportunity, I was all in,” she recalls.
Her working relationship with George was professional and they recorded several projects together. Music production is demanding and the duo spent a lot of time at the studio together. That’s where their love story started and culminated in a wedding ceremony in Utah by the end of 2012.
Then, Mekenze hadn’t physically met any of George’s family members back in Kenya although they spoke often via phone. She finally met them for the first time in 2016 when the couple visited Kenya. For the six weeks, they stayed in Meru, life was so different in a good way and she thought about it every day after returning to the US.
Why Did George Limiri and Mekenze Limiri Settle in Kenya?
The pair travelled across many regions of Kenya over the six weeks of their first Kenyan visit. From the lofty plains of Maasai Mara to the mountainous regions of Meru; they crisscrossed the width and breadth of Kenya’s iconic sceneries. This birthed the idea to open a tour company.
It was a thought inspired by the need to popularize Kenyan destinations to their networks back in the US. And there was no better way to have them visit Kenya than through a tour company of one of their own. The coupled put everything into place and launched Limiri Travels. They planned for a one-year stay in Kenya in 2019 since Mekenze was at the time pregnant with her third child, Liam Muthomi. Also, the one year would be a gauge to see how life in Meru is compared to the US and based on the outcome, make a decision to either stay in Kenya permanently or not.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the couple and their three children rushed back to the US where they decided to put up a permanent home in Meru and relocate permanently. They sourced funds while in the US during the pandemic period and built a home in the village. They finally flew back in 2021 and settled permanently.
What Does The Couple Do?
They jointly run Limiri Travels which is a key revenue earner for the family. Mekenze also has a YouTube channel, Mekenze in Kenya where she talks about life in her new home and many other interesting things. George also does commercial farming through poultry, pigs and apiculture. He has a dozen beehives which he harvests honey from and sells it.
Besides, business, George Limiri and Mekenze Limiri to home-school their three children ever since they were in the US. The couple says that homeschooling their children allows them to spend as much time as possible with them. The children study language, maths, history, science and art and they have helped sharpen their creative and imaginative senses.
Being in Meru also changed their social life. Lukas, Liam and Nkirote are more interactive with people than they were back in the US and they learn more from other kids who they play with within the village.