- 90 Day Fiancé couple Akinyi Obala and Benjamin Taylor postponed their wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Although they are considered married in Kenya, their marriage isn't legal in the US.
- Aside from not being able to be together physically, Akinyi says that she misses Benjamin's "warm personality."
Akinyi Obala from Kenya and Benjamin Taylor from Arizona first appeared on 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days season 3, and although Benjamin settled the bride price during his visit to Kenya, the couple's relationship still faced many unknowns when he returned to the US.
Fans' hearts went out to the couple as they watched the pair deal with Akinyi's overprotective brother, cultural differences, and near-disastrous dowry negotiations.
Global efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus have caused additional stress on Akinyi and Benjamin's relationship, who have since had to push back their wedding date due to travel restrictions.
Channel24 spoke to Akinyi, who is currently under partial lockdown in Kenya, about the status of her relationship with Benjamin and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the couple's future plans.
"I've been good, but the government has put so many restrictions in place that it's hard to cope with some things. We are on strict quarantine rules, and I don't think I've gone out in a very long while now. There has also been a lot of recession in many job places, and I'm one of the recipients who've been affected. It's a good thing I still live with my parents," she tells Channel24.
The Kenyan government have locked down a handful of counties and imposed a night-time curfew as part of containment efforts.
Fortunately, the couple was able to spend time together before the global pandemic hit, says Akinyi. "Benjamin came to visit again early this year. We had a great time just me showing him around, spending alone time together and him seeing my family once again."
Like many engaged couples around the world, Akinyi says that the global pandemic has placed uncertainty on their plans to get married in the US. "We cannot plan for anything if we don't know when it's going to end, but we're hoping for the best."
On the show we saw Benjamin settle the bride price, and although they are considered married in Kenya, their marriage isn't legal in the US, and the couple have to apply for the K-1 visa in order to get married in Benjamin's home country.
In an update on 90 Day Fiancé: Self-Quarantined, the couple explained that Akinyi's K-1 visa interview had been cancelled as embassies closed due to the pandemic, and that their wedding plans have been postponed until August.
About her dream wedding, she says: "I honestly don't know if I've ever thought of a 'dream wedding.' I don't like being the center of attention so I think my ideal wedding would be something small with just friends and family. Ben is a bit more extravagant and he would want a big wedding so we will try to find a middle ground on what kind of wedding it should be."
We saw on the show that Benjamin could not afford the full dowry upfront, but Akinyi's father agreed to accept the payment in installments. Although Akinyi's father gave his blessing for the marriage to go ahead, her family still had reservations.
When asked if their opinion on her husband has changed at all, Akinyi says that a person can never know what someone else truly thinks of another person.
"I would like to hope that their opinions have changed, but so far things are on the okay end," she adds.
Before Benjamin left for the airport, during season 3 of the reality show, the couple still faced unresolved issues when Akinyi got tipsy during a romantic date.
But Akinyi says that they have since worked through their differences. "I think we came to a conclusion that I'm an adult, and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want because I know my limits."
Another sore spot in their relationship was Akinyi's worries about being a stepmother to Benjamin's son from his previous marriage.
"I usually don't know how to answer this question because there are so many angles you can look at in becoming a stepparent," she says when asked if she has had a change of heart.
"I don't think his son lacks parental support in any sense. He has both the love of his biological mom and dad, and I don't think I need to step in as anything but a friend. I think he has both his parents and they're doing a great job raising him; my role is to be a guardian and friend," she explains further.
The hardest thing about the long-distance relationship is the "physical aspect of it," says Akinyi, adding: "You can't do simple things like hold hands or take a walk together. Some things like those may seem small, but if you're in a long-distance relationship, it's very hard."
Another obstacle is the time difference. "His night is my day, and my day is his night. So when I wake up, I'm telling him good night, and if we need to have a conversation, I have to wake up very early so we can talk. I think that would be the biggest strain. I hate it," she explains.
Aside from not being able to be together physically, Akinyi says that she misses Benjamin's "warm personality."
"I miss how he loves me like I'm the only girl in the world," she says.
When her visa application is successful, Akinyi says that the first thing she wants to do is visit the Grand Canyon.
"Maybe see the walk of fame in Hollywood or head to New York City to see the Statue of Liberty and walk through the famous Central Park. If it is winter, I'd love to see and play with the snow and make snow angels," she adds.