Deaf couple ties the knot in Kitale

A deaf couple in Kitale has tied the knot in a service where most of the attendants were deaf and mute.

John Toili and Ugandan Susan Toili's wedding was officiated by Meshack Kosgey, who urged the community to learn the Kenyan Sign Language.

While the crowd gazed at the priest during the service, the couple's eyes never left the interpreter, the only link between them and the guiding words from the officiator.

Out of everything Kosgey said, everyone was transfixed on how the interpreter would sign 'you may now kiss the bride'.

Murmurs, giggles and laughter rented the air when the interpreter threw his hands around, perhaps also excited at the fact that love is a language all can speak and hear. The couple hugged instead, in the backdrop of ululations from the congregation.

"Do you promise to do your best to uphold them in their marriage covenant?" Kosgey said.

The congregation nodded in the affirmative. At that point, there was no knowing who was deaf or mute. They approved.

Kosgey admitted that a deaf and mute couple might have challenges integrating with a hearing and speaking community.

The Kitale ACK branch has started a Home Economics project for the deaf and mute to improve social interactions.

Kenyans are no foreigners to sign language.

Today, many programmes on television, including news bulletins, slate a spot for the sign language interpreter.

By March last year, the Ministry of Health and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities had registered close to 350,000 PWDs. Seven per cent are deaf and mute.