By Alex Ashaba
Mr Asaph Mujuni and Ms Catherine Katusiime got married early this year on February 22, at St Matthew Cathedral Kyamate of South Ankole Diocese in Ntungamo municipality. Their wedding reception was held at Jerusalem Cottages in the same municipality. The couple were excited to finally take the big step of tying the knot after a number of challenges they had gone through, including friends asking Catherine not to marry Asaph because of the disability he has. They tell their story.
When and where did you meet and how did get into a relationship?
Asaph: After completing university at Bishop Stuart University in Mbarara, I went to study Bachelors of Divinity in UCU-Bishop Barham University in Kabale District. That is where I met Catherine in 2017. I did not disclose my interest in her until 2018 as I was first studying her character and praying about it.
Catherine: We met at the University of Bishop Barham University-Kabale where we promised that we would get married to each other after completing university. God helped me because I prayed to Him for a good husband and he answered by showing me a good servant, Asaph.
How did you plan for the wedding?
Asaph: We waited until 2019 after her graduation and then began with introduction arrangements. After the introduction in December 2019, we immediately began preparations for the wedding. We organised meetings that used to take place in Ntungamo town municipality. Friends and relatives supported us to finance the wedding budget; they contributed Shs6 million. I only topped the budget with Shs2 million and bride price. Other friends gave us cars, tents, chairs and music systems.
Did you have any counseling before the wedding?
Catherine: Yes. We were counseled by church leaders and other elders about marriage related issues. They taught us how to manage our family and how we can plan for our marriage. I was taught my role in marriage as a woman and that was to submit to and respect my husband.
Asaph: I was taught to be a lover of my wife, Ekijungu [Asaph’s nickname for Catherine], and to be a leader among others. The wife of the Bishop of South Ankole Diocese, Maama Lillian Ahimbisibwe, taught me many things and also prayed for us. Maama Lillian said with God your marriage will be the best. The Bishop of South Ankole Diocese also taught us marriage is a school and we should always submit to one another as Ephesians 5:18-33 says.
What challenges did you meet during the preparations?
Asaph: The difficult bit was when some people started discouraging us not to continue with the wedding because they said we were still fresh graduates and young for marriage. Also, because I have a disability, some people used to discourage Catherine from accepting to marry me. They instead were telling her to break up with me but fortunately, she did not listen to them. My beloved wife, Ekijungu was brought up well and her parents taught her up to the university level. By the time of our wedding preparations, she had finished her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management and was serving with Ugafode Microfinance Limited in Ntungamo. She insisted on staying with me because we had prayed about it and her parents loved me so much and she knew me as a prayerful man. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has good plans for us. Plans to prosper not to harm us.
Catherine: While we were organising for the wedding I was always tired because of working hard at my new job of Ugafode Microfinance where I was required to work every day.
When did you get the disability?
Asaph: My mother Ms Generous Nyambere told me that I was born in 1992 without any disability on my body but when they took me for immunisation the doctor gave me an injection which affected my leg. In 1994, I couldn’t move from one place to another. I could only crawl like a child until 1999 when I was taken to the Ours Hospital in Ruharo in Mbarara District for treatment. I was given crutches to enable me walk. This is what I have used from then till today and I don’t feel any pain.
What were the struggles you faced because of the disability?
Asaph: In the past, l lost friends because some people including my family members never had hope in me. They looked at me as someone without value. Even in my own family, I was often disregarded but today amazingly, I am the sole breadwinner at home.
I am the most educated person among all the family children.
In the past, I didn’t think that I would get married. Some women did not take interest in me but when I studied to high levels they started showing interest in me because of my potential.
How have you managed to deal with the negative comments?
Asaph: Self-confidence and believing in myself has helped me to live with people of all categories and I have come out to compete with them in leadership at all levels. Most of the time I give testimonies of what the Lord has done for me in my life and people are eager to listen to me in different places. I have tried to make sure that when I am at school I do the needful because education has increased my understanding and even the friendship of those people even who had negative comments about me. My spiritual father, the Bishop of South Ankole Diocese in Ntungamo the Rt. Rev. Bishop Nathan Ahimbisibwe who met me in 2012 while studying at Kyamate Secondary School helped me not to lose hope in life. He told me that I am not an accident, and told me to look ahead.
Why were some people discouraging you from marrying Asaph?
Catherine: It was at the university when my friends and relatives heard news about me planning to marry Asaph. They thought because I was able bodied and educated, I should not marry someone who had a disability.
How did it make you feel?
Catherine: I felt bad when they discouraged me from marrying him, yet he was the one I love.
What would be your advice to other people (men and women) in a similar situation?
Catherine: My advice is that as long as you truly know the person that you are going to marry and that person loves you, people should not discourage you from marrying them.
What do you love about Catherine?
Asaph: She is a God-fearing woman, she is saved. Katusiime has never doubted me from the time we started our relationship up now. She is educated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management. She is a humble woman, beautiful, caring, hardworking, a leader and she is proud of me.
What things do you love about Asaph?
Catherine: I love him because he is a God-fearing man. I loved Christ that was in him. Also, he loves me so much and he cares for me.
How much did your wedding attire cost?
Catherine: I hired a Cinderella wedding dress at Shs400,000. The initial price was Shs800,000 but we negotiated.
Asaph: I bought the suit at Shs300,000.
What made you choose the particular spot you picked for the reception?
Asaph: We wanted to hold the wedding in the village because my parents and other relatives live there. We thought we would have the party at home, but because our friends who contributed to our wedding live and work in town we decided it was cost effective to have the reception in Ntungamo municipality. We considered the distance factor. We found out that if we held our party in the village many people would miss it because we had friends from outside Uganda, we had people from Kampala, Mbarara, Kabale and many other many places. And once this decision was reached, our family members welcomed the idea and mobilised more support.
Was the cost higher in town and were you happy with the decision?
Asaph: We hired the reception venue at Shs500,000 and it was a friend who paid for it. I was happy with the decision because all the invited guests attended the wedding.
Catherine: I was happy with having the reception in town because all my workmates came to our wedding. The village was farther compared to the town.
What was the best moment during the wedding?
Asaph: When Bishop Nathan Ahimbisibwe of South Ankole Diocese held our hands together with and announced that we were now a wedded couple and people in the background cheered.
Catherine: When I entered church to make wedding vows. Many of my friends were waiting for me and they cheered me on. They made me so happy.
What advice do you have for people who planning to wed?
Asaph: For all those intending to enter the institution of marriage, they need to choose the right partner such as one who fears God.
Catherine: Before accepting to marry a man, one needs to first take time and study his character because marriage is for a lifetime. Don’t have very high expectations of your husband because you can be disappointed. And when planning for the wedding people need to try to avoid making expensive parties.