February is the month of love.
A moment for those who are hopelessly in love to show how much their partners mean to them.
On Valentine’s Day, observed on February 14, couples get to spoil each other and express how much their partners mean to them.
Couples give each other gifts ranging from chocolate to flowers and much more.
Restaurants, gift shops and flower shops make a killing selling their products to “those in love”.
But not everyone gets the opportunity to show their loved ones how much they mean to them through gifts and fancy dinner dates.
This was supposed to be Sammy (also known as Blacky on the streets) and Virginia’s story on this Valentine’s Day.
The two, who have known each for two years but been dating for one, lay their heads in Majengo slums in Kenya’s capital Nairobi where they are hosted by friends every once in a while.
The two just have each other since Virginia is an orphan and Sammy is the “black sheep of his family”. They depend on Blacky’s parking boy gig for daily bread as Virginia is jobless.
But a Kenyan photographer’s desire to portray how the two lovebirds who live in the streets of the capital Nairobi share their love in the simplest possible way changed Blacky and Virginia’s script.
“We realized the two of them had such chemistry, which is so streetwise and we immediately decided to have them in this project,” Muchiri told CGTN Africa during an interview.
Johnson Muchiri of Muchiri Frames was clear from the word go that this event was not necessarily to change their lives because he didn’t have the means then, but just for the two to have a special Valentine’s Day.
“We wanted them to know everything we were going to do with their photos, and if someone offers you anything like a job, accept, if nothing happens, just be happy we were able to treat you for Valentines,” Muchiri said.
The two were a little skeptical at first since it was not the first time for someone to come asking for them to participate in a photoshoot with a promise to help change their lives.
But Muchiri was able to convince them to participate in a photoshoot which he would later share on his blog to show there is love even in street families.
Preparations towards the day were challenging. The only way Muchiri could communicate with Virginia and Blacky was through personally visiting them where they live. Virginia and Blacky don’t have mobile phones.
Eventually they managed to do the photoshoot which featured before and after photos of Blacky and Virginia made up and removed from their street clothes.
The transformation was amazing and Muchiri was able to capture the transformation perfectly.
February 14, 2018 was on a Wednesday and Muchiri blogged about the story the following Friday.
He woke on the following Monday to discover the story had been shared thousands of times with major news outlets in Nairobi taking up the story of Blacky & Virginia’s transformation.
Muchiri received numerous calls from media outlets asking him details about the two and well-wishers coming through to help transform these two’s lives.
At some point his phone crashed and he had to buy another phone to be able to communicate with the people who were looking for him.
This story has brought good tidings for his company Muchiri Frames as well as for Blacky and Virginia who have been offered a fully paid trip to a prestigious hotel in the coastal region of Kenya as well as a house for them to stay in with the rent paid for five months.
Blacky and Virginia’s lives have suddenly been transformed and according to Muchiri this will cause a ripple effect since the two have an opportunity to change live of the others they left in the streets.
“It is a small thing we did, but I believe it has a chain reaction that will follow after that,” Muchiri added.
Again, love wins!