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Taxi hailing app Little seeks to disrupt matatu industry with long haul shuttles

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Taxi hailing app Little on Friday announced its entry to long distance commuter service as it seeks to gain a foothold in the transport industry.

The company has introduced commuter service on the Nairobi to Nakuru route, with six return trips daily.

To celebrate the entry, the company said customers will ride for free on the route on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Little LongHaul Shuttle is now live from Nairobi to Nakuru and back Six times daily. To celebrate this milestone, all our trips from Friday to Sunday will be absolutely Free,” the company said in a statement.

Commuters will pay a daily flat rate of Sh450 from Nairobi to Nakuru.

More routes will be announced in the future.

The Nakuru route is already available on the app with several pickup and drop-off zones.

In February Little launched a bus service in Nairobi on its platform. It allows riders to book a seat and board at specific times starting 6:45am on week days, with a frequency of every two hours.

The shuttles ply the Kahawa Sukari to Westlands, Bomas to the CBD via Upper Hill, and Kinoo to South B routes.

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Health

Bishop Wanjiru denies hosting prayer meet that led to Covid-19

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When former Starehe legislator Bishop Margaret Wanjiru went to Aga Khan hospital a week ago, on Saturday she told journalists that she initially thought she was suffering from food poisoning, only for her to turn positive of COVID-19.

She was also suffering from diarrhea- which is the latest symptom of coronavirus, according to public health officials.

The Jesus is Alive Ministries bishop tested positive alongside her two grandchildren, who have also recovered. Her six members of staff are still in hospital.

“COVID-19 is real and should be taken seriously, and not only when you are at work. I did not leave home, the disease found me home,” she told a news conference at the Aga Khan Hospital, shortly after discharge.

She urged Kenyans to heed to the Ministry of Health precautionary measures and not to fear seeking medical help in hospital due to coronavirus.

“We take some things for granted when we are at home. We do not put on masks while at home. Even at home, use the mask, as much as you can. Learn from me,” the former legislator who started the briefing with a word of a prayer said.

Bishop Margaret Wanjiru was among patients discharged Saturday after recovering from COVID-19. /MOSES MUOKI.

The Bishop and her two grandchildren walked out of the hospital free of the virus, a week after being admitted. She attributes her healing to God.

“All along, I knew I had eaten bad food,” she said, “I did not have flu or cough. Anytime you feel disorder in your body, do not shy away from going to hospital.”

Wanjiru and her two grandchildren are among 26 Kenyans who have recovered from the disease, raising the tally to 464.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman said the patients were discharged from various hospitals across the country.

The death toll rose to 63, after a 50-year-old man succumbed to the virus.

The Ministry of Health said most of the people who have died were suffering from other underlying conditions, including Diabetes.

The Ministry said on Saturday that public health officials had discovered a new symptom exhibited by most COVID-19 patients–Diarrhoea. This is coupled up by high fever, dry cough and tiredness.

Dr Aman said the symptom has been recorded in many other parts of the world.

On Saturday, Bishop Wanjiru said she initially did not have coronavirus symptoms but had diarrhea and food poisoning, only to be confirmed with COVID-19 on testing.

The former Assistant Minister has been at Aga Khan Hospital since last week, and is among the 26 patients declared COVID-19 free on Saturday and now stand discharged from hospital.

The COVID-19 curve remained on a sharp increase in Kenya since last week, even as President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to make a key announcement on the status of a national curfew and other restrictions.

A national curfew has been in place for the past two months until June 6, along with restrictions on cessation of movement into and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Mandera Counties.

On Saturday, there were 143 new cases reported, just a day after posting 127 cases on Friday.

On Thursday, 147 new cases were recorded from various counties, with particular focus to Nairobi and Mombasa counties which have been recording high figures.

Cummulatively, Kenya had recorded 1,888 positive cases by May 30, with a warning from the Ministry of Health on more cases as the country draws closer to its peak which was projected to start in June to around September.

Health CAS Aman said Kenya is it a critical period on the pandemic, and urged Kenyans to cooperate in observing social distancing and all other measures imposed to help prevent the spread.

The government has warned Kenyans against dropping the guard, after increased cases of people not using masks in public places were reported.

Dr Aman said the government was concerned at a new habit by leaders who have been holding large meetings, and urged them to respect the measures put in place.

“We must respect these guidelines because that is the only way we will be able to beat the virus,” he said.

Concerns were raised after COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli convened a meeting at his Kajiado residence on Friday, attended by more that 50 leaders, among them four Governors and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, in what was billed as a Luhya-unity bid.

By Capital.co.ke

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Health

My fear for my mum

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A son of former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru has spoken of the family’s fears the moment his mother was diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus and wheeled into an ICU.

Speaking in a YouTube video, Reverend Evans Kariuki revealed that the family was shaken when they received the news but they remained firm in prayer and determined that all would be well.

“Our faith was strong because of the believers especially in Kenya and from all corners of the world who stood with us,” he said.

He also provided an update of her current state of health.

Kariuki, who is a pastor in the United States of America, said his mother had responded well to medication and that she would soon be discharged from hospital.

In the video, which was uploaded on his channel, Mr Kariuki thanked Kenyans for praying for his mother as soon as they learnt that she had fallen sick.

Ms Wanjiru was a couple of days ago admitted at a Nairobi hospital with Covid-19 after she hosted a number of people for overnight prayers.

“My name is Evans Kariuki, I am the son of Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and I wanted to thank everyone for the thousands of prayers that we have received,” he says in the video.

He adds: “ Bishop is recovering fast and we give all the glory to God.”

The reverend asked people across the nation to pray for the current situation the world is going through and those who have been affected directly or indirectly.

The former MP who is the lead Bishop in the Jesus is Alive Ministries hosted 18 individuals after which eight tested positive for the virus.

The Kenyan government has prohibited a gathering of more than 15 people.

By NN

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Business

Why I grow my moringa inside a greenhouse

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Some two kilometres from Soy trading centre in Aligula, Likuyani, Kakamega County, Nelson Njuguna runs a moringa farm.

He grows the crop inside a greenhouse tucked in a section of his 30-acre family farm, with the rest hosting maize and beans, the dominant crops in the region.

The 8m-by-15m structure hosts 500 moringa plants, as he planted 700 but 200 died.
“Most people assume that you can only grow tomatoes or capsicum in a greenhouse, but here is the proof that moringa also does well in the structure,” says the 50-year-old farmer.

He developed interest in the crop in 2014 when he met an exhibitor at the Eldoret Agricultural Show, who sold him one kilo of seeds.

“I was impressed at the numerous benefits of the crop, which include its various nutrients and uses, which range from nourishing the human skin, protecting the liver, fighting bacterial infections to preventing cancer,” notes the farmer who quit teaching in 2008 after 15 years in the profession.

Njuguna funneled Sh300,000 into the business, starting with propagating seedlings and selling each at Sh100.

“I used to sell about 800 seedlings every year at an average of Sh100. I realised this did not make economic sense and shifted to growing the plants in the greenhouse for value addition,” he explains, adding that he first grows the plants in a seedbed.

The seeds germinate in two weeks, after which he transfers them in polythene pots where they stay for two to three months before he moves them to the greenhouse, where he plants them.

“Inside the greenhouse, the plants must be spaced a metre from one row to the next and 0.3 metres from one plant to another. They mature in six months but regular weeding must be done for good growth,” says Njuguna, who notes that he embraced greenhouse moringa farming after birds damaged his crop in the open field.

Besides helping the farmer to curb birds’ damage, the structure makes the crop to grow faster since it thrives in warmer conditions.

Njuguna says the crop has a lifespan of 30 years, but he replaces the plants after four to five years, when the yields starts to go down.

He has embraced value addition, making soap, powder and perfumed and non-perfumed herbal cream from the plant.

“From the 500 plants, I harvest about eight kilos of leaves, which I dry and grind to make the products,” says the farmer, who identifies pests like white flies and spider mites and rust disease as the biggest enemy of the crop.

To make the jelly, after drying the leaves in an oven for eight hours, he mixes them with sunflower (50 per cent) and palm, soya and canola oils (50 per cent).

He then mixes with beeswax, allowing it to heat up to 70 degrees Celsius and then it cools for 24 hours to form the final product.

DEVELOPMENT OF NEW ONES

To make soap, he uses a similar process but introduces olive and beef oils to the canola, sunflower, soya and palm.

He then mixes with sodium hydroxide solution and leaves it to be ready. He sells soap and the jelly at Sh40 and Sh120 respectively.

He grows the crop organically, using plants like tree tomato, basil, chia, lavender and oregano to attract and repel some of the destructive pests.

“I mix farm-yard manure with inorganic fertiliser during planting and top-dress especially after cutting the branches to allow development of new ones,” notes the farmer, adding that he plants cuttings for faster growth as he still sells the seedlings.

Dr Shem Mwasi, an environmental biologist at the University of Eldoret, explains that moringa oleifera is a fast-growing deciduous soft wood tree that can grow up to 12 metres high and reach a trunk diameter of 45cm when fully mature.

“It grows well in areas with an annual rainfall of 760 to 2,500mm, an annual average temperature of between 18 and 28°C and an altitude of up to 2,000m above sea level.

In Kenya, it can grow in areas that receive an annual rainfall of as low as 300mm,” he says, adding that it can grow in any soil type with a pH of 4.5 to 8, save for areas with a lot of clay soil that is constantly waterlogged.

Dr Mwasi notes planting is done by sowing seeds or vegetative propagation (use of cuttings).

He said trees raised from seeds produce poorer quality fruits but develop longer roots (an advantage for stability and access to water) compared to those grown from cuttings.

“A single mature tree can produce from 15,000 to 25,000 seeds, with an average weight of 0.3 grams per seed during the harvesting season. Almost all parts of the tree are utilised but leaves and fruits (pods and seeds) are the most used parts.”

Leaves are used in human and animal nutrition and in traditional medicine because they are rich in bioactive compounds. They are rich in mineral, beta-carotene and natural antioxidant compounds.

“They are a good source of natural antioxidants, which protect the human body from free radicals that play a role in the pathogenesis of diseases such as cancer. The leaves added to cow feeds led to an increase in daily weight gain while daily fresh leaves resulted in increased milk production,” he said.

By Seeds of Gold

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