A prison warden who is visually impaired was among 13 deacons who were ordained to the priesthood at St. James ACK cathedral in Murang’a.
Esther Kamindo who works at Murang’a GK prison took vows before Bishop Dr. Timothy Gichere to become one of the servants of God at Mt. Kenya Central Parish. Kamindo, who lost her eyesight in 2014, has been working at the prison and at the same time serving as a preacher in the correctional facility and neighbouring churches.
Speaking to KNA at the Cathedral grounds during the ordination on Saturday, Kamindo a mother of one was clearly elated by realization the church allowed her to ascend to priesthood.
Her white cane in tow, she was accompanied by her husband Laban Kamindo who acted as her aid throughout the ordination ceremony and shared her story with us. “I’m grateful to God and my bishop for ordaining me into priesthood despite my condition, because most blind people get neglected and misjudged on face value and are left out in most crucial ministries,’’ Kamindo narrated.
With the ordination, she becomes the first blind church minister in Kenya in the Anglican Church.
The Warden who has worked at the prison for the last 26 years says she has received a lot of support from her seniors since she lost her sight. This, she says has made her work easier. “ I am able to carry out my duties with efficiency and sometimes I only remembers am blind when I get into a ditch or knocks surfaces while walking,” she quipped.
Kamindo started having eyesight problems in 2013. She made numerous visits to hospitals including Kenyatta National Hospital and Kikuyu Eye Hospital but no remedy was found.
“Early 2014, the doctors dropped the bombshell. A case of undetected diabetes had interfered with my eye nerves and consequently led to blindness,’’ Rev Kamindo reflected.
After the diagnosis she was referred to Machakos Institute for the Blind for rehabilitation where she learnt Braille for two years. Here, she also learnt self-reliant skills before being integrated back into the community.
“I wasn’t born blind, life was difficult. People should stop seeing as if by being blind we need to be assisted always or as if we are begging for handouts,’’Kamindo further remarked.
She shared a story whereby she went to a hotel and some attendants wanted to know if she will pay her bills.
Nagged by her urge and a calling to serve the people of God and knowing too well her limitations as a challenged minister, Rev Esther nonetheless enrolled for a Theology course at St Andrews College of Theology and development.
She notes that she was the only blind student and for three years she honed her skills in the ministry of the church. “In 2019 the Bishop ordained me as a deacon and I have been ministering at ACK St. Stephens Mukuyu Parish, Murang’a,” noted Kamindo.
Her husband Laban agrees that the journey to priesthood for his wife has had a big share of challenges, and is glad she overcome all that. He assists her with the scripts and daily sermons by dictating from the internet for her.
The 45-year-old priest is confident that she will be able to deliver the duties entrusted to her as a priest of the Anglican Church. “I call on parents and other people living with disability to accept themselves and to stop shying away from exploring their potential or their calling in life as disability is not inability,’’ She advises.
She as well appealed to the community to accept the visually impaired and other people living with disability and not to victimize or neglect them.
By Bernard Munyao and Florance Kinyua