There was celebration in Kandara after 10 couples that have been rehabilitated from jigger infestation took their vows in a mass wedding ceremony on Saturday.
The ceremony that was organized by the Ahadi Kenya Trust saw thousands of relatives and locals flock the Kagundu-ini grounds to witness the wedding of the 10 couples.
Majority of them had been immobilized by jiggers that had condemned them to abject poverty and reduced them to beggars.
Their families had also been isolated from the society and could not take part in communal activities as they lived as rejects.
“No one wanted to be associated with me as I was severely affected by jigger infestation and i did not know where to turn even when I needed help,” said Nduati wa Betty, one of the grooms.
Nduati told the congregation that he met his wife Alice Wairimu after he healed from jigger infestation and that they are now living together.
The 55 years old peasant farmer and father of four said he still experiences pain in one of his legs even after healing as it was severely infested.
Ahadi Kenya CEO Stanley Kamau said the wedding ceremony was a culmination of the 10 years journey that his firm has taken in its fight against jiggers.
He said the wedding signified the beginning of the next phase of fighting with jiggers that entails re-integrating the victims back into the society.
“It is wonderful that thousands of people have come out today to witness this wedding yet a few years ago even their relatives did not want anything to do with them,” Kamau said.
He said the event was significant in encouraging the victims to feel as part of the society and even take part in communal activities.
“I am happy to announce that some of them met their spouses after recovering after living in solitude for the better part of their adult lives,” Kamau noted.
He said when he visited Kagundu-ini village 10 years ago when he was starting his anti-jigger campaign, all he saw was pain, poverty and hopelessness but that all that has been transformed.
Kamau said some of the grooms and brides had travelled in a car for the first time as they went to church for their wedding while others had never tasted a cake.
“This is a message to all those who are still suffering from this disorder to know that there is life after jigger infestation,” he noted.
Each couple received a dairy cow from the organization while Murang’a County representative Sabina Chege gave them a pair of chickens to empower them.
Chege said she was glad to see the couples sing and dance saying it was a lesson to all NGOs to use donor funding to transform lives.
“These couples will now be able to source for employment and support their families now that they have fully recovered,” she said.