Ten couples who have recovered from jigger attacks had another reason to smile after they renewed their wedding vows in a ceremony in Murang’a County on Saturday.
Charitable organisation Ahadi Kenya Trust, which was commemorating 10 years of fighting jiggers chose to celebrate the milestone by organising a mass wedding for the couples in Kandara.
The couples said their vows at ACK Emmanuel Kagundu-ini Church and were thereafter treated to a reception at Kagundu-ini Polytechnic.
Family members and friends joined in the celebrations.
Ahadi Kenya CEO Stanley Kamau said the Ahadi team had been working tirelessly to achieve their objective of halting the spread of jiggers.
This, he said, had been done through the mission of creating a better life for people and a promise to bridge the poverty gap by empowering the poor.
Dr Kamau said many jigger-infected people are often isolated, stigmatised and neglected.
He said the mass wedding ceremony was an endeavour to elevate these individuals to become fully-functioning members of the society.
“When we first met them, we saw annoyance, desperation, isolation, pain and hopelessness on their faces but today we are seeing happy people, clean and hopeful for the future,” he said.
“The 10 were heavily infested and some could not even move around and were isolated, but we have changed their lives which is the last project in the line of our activities,” he added.
He said that some of the couples who tied the knot met during the free Ahadi clinics.
‘We have given them dairy cows, bananas and chickens as gifts. We want to empower them by giving them a source of livelihood so that they will be stable,” he said
Mr William Gitau and his wife Veronica Wairimu, who have been together for the last 30 years, could not hide their joy after the event.
The parents of seven thanked the NGO for the help.
Ms Jane Wairimu, a mother of three, narrated how she was isolated by neighbours when she had jiggers. Ms Wairimu met her husband, Mr Bernard Muiruri, during one of the Ahadi Kenya clinics.
The two narrated how life was so difficult for them adding that they can now at least afford a smile as all the troubles were behind them.
‘We are grateful and happy to have been married as we could not afford the wedding as it is costly, will continue loving one another till death do us part,” said the couple
‘I never thought I would get married, I am happy for the double blessing, getting healed, finding a husband and on top of that, I am now legally married,” she said.
Murang’a women rep Sabina Chege urged other NGOs to follow suit and help transform people’s lives saying what Ahadi had done was a testimony.