Mayeen and Rehan

Where to Propose in The Gambia, West Africa

How We Met

We met at a bus stop in The Gambia, West Africa where we both serve as Peace Corps volunteers. It wasn’t love at first sight, but close enough. We met on a Sunday and had said ‘I love you’ by the following Wednesday. He’d heard about me, a new volunteer, from his PCV friends. I’d heard about him during my training. There was an instant connection when we met, a sort of familiarity that usually takes years to build. We exchanged numbers and talked for the first time over the phone a day later.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in The Gambia, West Africa

And honestly, we just never stopped talking. The first day, it was an hour. The next, 2 hours. The following, 3 hours. We never got sick of it. We talked about everything-politics, religion, world affairs, philosophy, beliefs, the future. And soon enough, our future. We both wanted to work for the UN and were very interested in international development and human rights. It was strange meeting someone so similar to myself. I would always say to him, ‘Our souls are made of the same stuff.’

Marriage Proposal Ideas in The Gambia, West Africa

The process of marriage felt very natural. When something felt so right, why should we wait? We talked about marriage in excited tones barely a month after we met. But it was over a year before he asked me to marry him under the baobab tree where we shared our first kiss. It’s a story that began in West Africa and hopefully will take us all over the world. Together, we hope to travel together, explore together, and change the world together. #westAfriKhanlovestory #madeingambia

Mayeen and Rehan's Engagement in The Gambia, West Africa

How They Asked

The second time we met was in a small village between our two homes. I was not allowed to leave my village because I was still in training and he was not allowed to visit villages where trainees were staying. But of course, we were desperate to meet again. We made it work somehow-I walked to the very edge of my village, nervously answering the many Gambian villagers who asked where I was going. ‘Oh, I’m just going for a walk…’ He met me under a tree that was secluded by the high grasses that surrounded it. The second I saw him walking toward me my heart started pounding. He had a huge smile on his face as I came near him. ‘The first hug?’ he asked as I came closer. We hugged. And then we shared our first kiss.

He proposed at that very same tree where it all began. While traveling, he randomly decided to stop and visit ‘our tree’ one more time. I was very confused until he pulled out the ring. He proposed with a ring pop. (Peace Corps volunteers don’t make very much money… we live on about $5 a day) But it meant so much because it showed that even without anything in his pocket, he had still decided to build this life together. Also, I love candy.

Special Thanks

James Dillon
 | Photographer