WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY: Meet the couple in Narok with mental issues.


The world commemorates World Mental Health Day on October 10 th every year with an objective to raise awareness on mental health issues around the world. Another objective is to mobilize efforts to support those experiencing mental health issues and make them feel comfortable and part of the society. We meet a couple in Nairegi Enkare, Narok county, Beatrice Gakera and Njenga Pemba who are married for 6 months now and pressing on despite their mental health issue. They wedded in a
colorful wedding just like any other.

Njenga’s father Francis Pemba says that he new that his son was having a mental health problem
when he took him to school. At the moment, his son was also dumb.

“Alienda shule lakini hakujua kuandika. Nilimpeleka hapa DEB special unit lakini shida ni
hakujua kuandika.” Francis Pemba.
“He went to school but he didn’t know how to write. I took him to DEB special unit but the
problem was that he wasn’t able to write.” Francis Pemba.

He says that his son wanted to marry when he approached 30 year and so he asked his father to
look for a woman for him. This was because many were rejecting him concerning his state. His
father decided to look for a wife for him.

“Sasa mimi kuenda kumwambia msichana, nataka uolewe na kijana wangu, wengine hawakuwa
wanataka, wanasema ‘mimi siwezi kuolewa na Njenga kwa sababu hayuko one hundred percent’
Sasa nikachukua jukumu, huyu msichana alikuwa amekuja hapo kwa shangazi yake, na akasema
anataka bwana atafanyia yeye kazi, ambaye hakunywi pombe, kijana mwokovu, sasa alikuja
tukaandamana mpaka kwa wazazi wake…” Francis Pemba
“I went to ask the girl that I want her to marry my son, others were denying him, saying, ‘I can’t
marry Njenga because he is not a hundred percent.’ So, I took responsibility, this girl had come
to visit her aunt, and she said that she wants a husband who will be hardworking, who doesn’t
drink and who is saved, so she came and we went to see her parents…” Francis Pemba.

He added that when his son got married, he got a mental breakdown the same day and it made
him worry so much about his son. He said that he thought it was because his son was too happy
and obsessed.

Njenga’s wife on the other side said that she just decided to marry Njenga and have a family
together. She said that she had no problem marrying Njenga.

“Aliniambia tufanye harusi nikakubali tu, tukasikizana tufanye harusi tukae nyumba moja naye”
“He asked me to wed with him and I just accepted, and we agreed to wed and stay together”

As this year’s theme being ‘Make mental health and well-being for all a global priority, Dr. Ivy
Wambui, the couple’s doctor at the Narok Referral Hospital is calling on the community to treat
persons with mental issues with love and consideration so that they can feel as part of the society.

The mental health activists are also calling on people with depression and anxiety to always seek
advice and medical attention as it is also part of mental health issue. They advise that parents
should also talk to their children more often because some suffer mental health in silence.
“And it is also an opportunity for all those who are already having depression and anxiety to seek
medical attention.”

By Calvin Angatia


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