By Simon Mburu
In January 2018, Susan Njogu walked down the aisle in a red-themed garden wedding at Thorndon Park, Adelaide, Australia. She stood at the altar dressed in a white gown with intricate red rose flower decorations and said her vows. She vowed to stick by her husband Philip Eling through thick and thin, through good health and sickness, just as her husband vowed to do the same.
In a matter of hours, news of her wedding spread like a bushfire. On one hand was an outpouring of congratulatory messages for a wedding that was widely seen as the manifestation of unconditional love. On the other, though, were pockets of allegations from people who felt that Susan had married for money.
You see, Susan had not just married any ordinary Joe. She had entered into marriage with a man who was born with a form of muscular dystrophy known as Bethlem myopathy. Due to this condition, her husband, Philip, relies on a special electric wheelchair for movement.
Going into an inter-abled marriage, a significant amount of public interest was going to be on how the couple would fair. They will not last three months. They will not last a year, some said. It is now nearly five years since Susan and Philip Eling became man and wife. This is their love story.
I live in Australia, but I was born in Elburgon, Nakuru County in a family of seven. I am 29. At the age of 22 in 2014, I got an opportunity to study in Adelaide, Australia for a diploma in disability studies. By the time I graduated, the government had restructured my study course into a diploma in community services.
I met my husband in 2017 shortly after completing my studies. At the time, I was job hunting. I had applied for roles that matched my qualifications in several companies.
In one of these companies, Philip was the customer engagement officer. My application went through. I was shortlisted and asked to go for a second interview.
On the contrary, I was pleased at how confident and assured he was about his abilities, his positive approach to life, and his embrace of happiness. He was a man above his health condition. He was not a man looking for a pity partner.
In mid-2017, Philip proposed. He proposed in Kiswahili. “Je, utakuwa bibi yangu? (will you be my wife?)” he asked. “Yes, I will!” I answered. We kicked off our wedding preparations and set a date for early 2018. This colourful day dawned on the morning of January 27, 2018, when we became husband and wife.
Our parents were not opposed to our marriage. Click to read more…