Monday, 26 February 2007

Anthony Nderitu writes...

Beautiful Wedding bells from the Kerugoya Deaf Community.

February 17th 2007 will remain the biggest day in the calendar of the deaf of Kirinyaga District and indeed the Africa. only three days after the ring bells of valentive ended love was expressed at its best by the most beautiful wedding in the years 2007. The wedding was between couple that is deaf, Patrick and Wambui who were joined in Holy matrimony by Pastor Paul Njatha, himself Deaf, and the Rev Pastor of PCEA church at Kerugoya.

The District is the only one in Central Province that has had no church for the deaf for a long time. Committee members of Central Kenya Deaf Association were especially concerned by this situation, considering that the headquarters of the association is in the District. After all were in agreement that a church for the deaf was required within the District, the next problem was venue.

The committee sort the assistance of a teacher at Kerugoya School for the Deaf, Ms. Margaret Waithera, who is an active member of PCEA church at Kerugoya and presently the matron of the deaf church. The later approached the PCEA church committee which had no hesitation in agreeing to provide a venue. The final problem was identification of a preacher. One member of the church, Mr Patrick Chanari, had preached before, at Karatina, Nyeri and other places. One snag though, he had not conducted a church wedding, which is necessary for one who is married to play an active role in the PCEA church.

That's how arrangements for the wedding began. Ms Waithira approached members of PCEA Kerugoya church for financial help. They all said they were willing to help. So were members of neighbouring churches such as Githioro and Kamuruga. Initially the wedding had been fixed for November 2006 but there were some problems encountered. Patrick had not yet taken dowry to the parents of the bride, a must in Kikuyu customary marriage.

The wedding was finally slated for 17th February 2007. There were several hitches on the way, mainly brought about by parents of the bride. First, the grooms parents found it difficult to pay the dowry the parents of the groom were asking for. Once again members of PCEA Kerugoya church came in to the rescue and donated the necessary items.

Thanks to Ms Waithera, all preparations went smoothly. We invited all the deaf whom we knew, and all the churches we had contacts with. On the big Day, Saturday February 17th, we all gathered at Ms Waithera's house. Some women members of Kerugoya and Kamuruga PCEA had been at the venue, Kerugoya PCEA church, all night to do the cooking. May these kind people be blessed. Some members of the deaf churches at Karatina, Kiambu and Nyeri attended.

The Best Man was the writer of this story, Anthony Nderitu, and the Best maid was Bilha Wambui, a close friend of the bride. In the bridal party were Esther, Njeri, Loise, Wangari, Muriithi, Irungu, Samuel among others, all of them deaf and active members of Kerugoya Deaf Church.

We set off from Ms Waithira's house in a convoy of seven vehicles, all of them donated free of charge by members of PCEA church, save for one from Kerugoya School for the Deaf, at exactly 11.15 am. After some introductions and orientations at the pastors office, we set off for the main service.

The wedding was conducted by Pastor Paul Njatha, himself Deaf, and the Rev Pastor of PCEA church at Kerugoya. Everything went according to the book. The entire congregation, comprising both the deaf and the hearing, was able to follow everything thanks to the excellent interpretation from Margret Muthoni, Bonnie Mbari and Eunice Kasisi. Also the wedding was covered by newsmen from Kenya Television Network (KTN) and Standard Newspapers.

Songs were conducted by the choir of PCEA church. Nyeri Deaf church, which is also under PCEA, conducted a nice dance on salvation. So was the Kerugoya Deaf church, which 'sang', "Only you Lord can Save me!" Pupils of Kerugoya School for the Deaf, who were all there at the church, also danced for the newly weds.

There were plenty of Drama too by the deaf. The most moving one, which kept the crowd on its feet, was by Mwangi and Jane. The two did a pantomime on man and wife who rarely talked, with the man hiding his face behind a newspaper or being fixated to the TV while the woman is trying to explain the problems of the house. Once the man came late and the wife want to know why. The man brushes the wife's questioning with the quip that its none of her business!!

Pastor Paul led the newly weds in reciting of the vows and exchange of the rings. Before that, he explained to the congregation that the meaning of the ring was one word, love. The bible reading was a verse on creation, that ended with the verse, "for that reason man shall leave his father and mother and be united with his wife". This was followed by a drama as always happen in sermons for the deaf to make the reading more clear.

The reception was an art. There were 6 cakes, donated by members of PCEA church. The cake matron was Mrs. Dr. Kaponda, whose husband is the Patron of Central Kenya Deaf Association. There were jigs and plays. She said how his husband loves the deaf people. She told all never to think that being disabled makes one unable. She gave an example that here in our midst was a deaf who is pursuing his doctoral degree. And finally, she requested all present to vote for her husband, who is aspiring for the Kerugoya-Kutus parliamentary seat.

After the cutting of the cake, there were gifts giving, amid song and dance. The wedding ended with prayers. And finally, two deaf people became one, in the witness of all and the Lord. It was a big challenge to the deaf people whose idea of marriage is the popular version of COME WE STAY.

For us who played a part in this wedding, more so this writer, it was a big satisfaction of conquest watching the news on KTN TV that evening and the following day. Bigger too was the feeling of ululation as all those who had watched, both deaf and hearing, but mainly the later, sort to know about it. I had a hard time answering to SMS, and could not reply to all because i ran out credit!

At this juncture, the deaf people of Kirinyaga District, and in deed all the deaf with an interest with this wedding, would like to take this opportunuty to thank the entire congregation of Kerugoya, Kamuruga and Gathora PCEA curches, the chairman of the wedding organising committee, The Rev Pastor of PCEA and Pastor Paul who did an excellent job of uniting the two love birds, and Ms. Margerat Waithera who made all this possible. May God add them blessings to prospire for their kind hearts so that they may help more people.

May God bless Chanari and Wambui's home. Those deaf who wish to do a holy wedding are free to request our help.

Anthony Nderitu,
The Bestman