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Blackouts make working from home difficult

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A popular response to the outbreak of the new coronavirus has been social distancing. After the announcement of the first case in Kenya, the government encouraged organisations to allow their employees to work from home.

The decision has been criticised by many Kenyans, who are of the opinion that it can work only for the middle class, who have access to technology, internet connectivity, affordable housing, and an assured monthly income.

I am one of the many employees who have been working remotely for a week now. We were informed that meetings would be conducted via Skype for Business, and that travel — whether local or international — was discouraged. In theory, it made perfect sense. We all understood that minimising movement would reduce exposure to the virus.

My last matatu trip was on March 16. Save for a few other public service vehicles, the roads were pretty empty that Monday morning. And so was the CBD. However, in the evening, hawkers were busy at work. I asked one woman what she thought of the directive to work from home.

“This is how I make money to feed my family. If we all closed our businesses, won’t we become thieves?” she posed. I chuckled, but that confirmed that there are many issues that need to be addressed for social distancing to work.

Working from home was supposed to be smooth sailing, at least that’s what it looked like on social media.

Countries in the West had implemented it successfully — rent had been temporarily suspended in some, healthcare was guaranteed and other basic amenities that they previously had to buy were now free. I have internet connectivity, electricity, a laptop and food; what could go wrong?

When I woke up on Wednesday, I was prepared to follow my usual routine: Shower, take breakfast then get to work by 9am. But then there was a blackout. I learnt that there was a scheduled power outage, and that it would last until about 5pm.

Determined to follow the government directive, I bought bundles. But my laptop was running out of charge, as was my phone. I needed to finish working by 3pm, yet it was already 12pm. Desperate, I headed for a nearby cafe and got down to work.

Total shutdown

The blackouts have been frequent, as has been the poor connectivity.

As the case count went higher, the government became stricter about keeping people at home because, true to fact, social distancing is the best chance at containing the spread of the virus.

I am rarely at home, so this is a good time to get acclimatised to the place. I have a really nice bedroom and my dogs are remarkable listeners.

Whispers on social media spoke of a looming total shutdown as the week wore on. I worried about the cab drivers I had met in the days before I started working from home, who worried for their own safety and livelihood.

They were worried that as more people started working from home, they would make fewer trips, although their employers would compensate them for the time they might have to spend isolated.

Access to the internet is one of the many limitations regarding this isolation.

To mitigate this, the government announced an initiative that would guarantee 4G internet to people living in remote areas to enable them to work from home and their children to learn remotely. But this would take some time.

Power outages I wondered though, whether the government would ever address the power outages.

Delivery services seem to be working just fine. Until clubs were also shut down, it seemed like people were still facilitating the spread of the virus. The government had to track more than 600 people who might been affected.

It has been a week since this isolation began. Adjusting my schedule has been an arduous process, but I think I’m settling in just fine. It might take a bit longer to adjust to this new reality, talking to people about when it will end, if it will. Musicians have concerts on Instagram Live, Facebook and Twitch.

Socialising is a virtual activity now.

More than ever, the news of the virus has become a staple. Good or bad, the public is eager to know whether this cloud will pass. History says it will, even if it seems like it might take a while. The best we can do is find ways to make this digital life a success.

I hope the right interventions are put in place for those less privileged and well, stay at home. The distance will make all the difference.

Ms Murage is a correspondent with the Nation Media Group.

By Daily Nation

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For the love of shoes! DP Ruto’s daughter shows off designer shoes

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William Ruto’s daughter has a taste for finer things in life.

Charlene ‘Chela’ Ruto’s love for heels is unrivaled.

Just like any red blooded lady, she loves to look good in delicate high heels. In one of her Instagram posts, she shows off her taste.

A photo of her perfectly manicured nails, a rouge leather bag and a classy designer watch sum up what the rich kids loves about her life.

“She is beautiful both in and out,” she adds the hashtags #Nails #DesignerWatch and #AlmostTaken.

Check it out below.

Anyhow, Chela loves heels and hand bags, most of her posts she is showing off her accessories. Check out one of them.

In another post, she shows off her post birthday get up. The shoes are Liliana, the clutch and matching earrings look expensive too.

She captioned the photo, “How I slayed on my post birthday night.”

Here is how much the pair of shoes cost (Ksh 4500), but of course this doesn’t include shipping costs.

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Captain Kibati’s family pays tributes to him (Photos)

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Captain Daudi Kimuyu Kibati has been laid to rest today at his Kitui home.

He passed away after contracting coronavirus on his line of duty.

He was the pilot who flew the last flight from New York to Kenya.

“Captain Kibati managed to evacuate many kenyans only for him to succumb to the disease. He made the ultimate sacrifice,” said the CS of health Mutahi Kagwe in a live broadcast.

Captain Kibati was a loving husband to Jane Mwende Kibati and together were blessed with children.

He was a caring dad of Dr. Paul Kibati, Caeser Mutua, Sebastian Kibati and Angeline Mutindi and a loving grand-father to many.

His family wrote a moving poem for the late Captain.

“Where do we begin dad,

Your attributes are beyond what our words can express.

You remind us of Moses in the bible
who God called the most humble man who ever lived.

Your humility, many can attest to. You remind us of the teachings of Jesus when He said love your neighbors.

Only, you went beyond being just a loving neighbor

You became everything for anyone and everyone who needed you

When we needed advise, you were the wise counselor

When we needed understanding, you became the friend; down to the level of each and every person

When we needed a provider, you went far and beyond; never withholding what’s within your means

When we were in conflict, you became the mediator and not even once, judging

A loving dad, compassionate friend, husband, son, brother, and granddad!

Whom do we turn to?

And now that it’s time to say goodbye, sorrow grips us

Your warmth, smile, voice, laughter; how can we go on dad

Yet we know that it is for love that you chose the lonely way out; though in hope of seeing us again

But this be sure; that forever your legacy will live on

The lives you touched, far and beyond your bloodline;

To where your arms could reach, you embraced many

And now, many hearts ache with sadness! Many eyes fill with tears

Who do we turn to?

We turn to the One who first loved us

Our hope and faith remain steadfast looking on to Him, the author of our lives!

We remain in the blessed of hope of waking up in Christ and seeing you again

As we soldier on to meet Him too someday, He is our faith and Trust

In His arm you are now safe and secure; rest assured that He is watching over us

It is till we met again Daddy. We loved you but He loved you most!”

May he rest in peace.

By Mpasho

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Meet the woman who rallied kids to sing melodies from their balconies

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Last week, a video of children singing praises from their balconies went viral, especially since the government had banned congregating in churches.

It has now emerged that the video was taken at Thindigua Heights along Kiambu Road and one Lillian Mbere initiated the idea.

Lillian, a Sunday School teacher at All Saints Cathedral, said she was compelled to organize something for the kids that would be similar to their Sunday routine but strictly adhering to social distancing.

Prior to the pandemic she would gather the kids at her apartment and teach them a number of things so most kids wondered why she suddenly stopped.

Following announcements by most churches that they would move their services online, Lillian felt she would do church differently by bringing it closer home, literally.

“Because of the disease, we have not been having our Saturday meetings. Our church has been having online services and even a class for children.

“I wondered, why can’t I replicate that in our estate?” she said.

Lillian engaged a number of parents via social media and they agreed they would let their kids go to their respective balconies.

“I told them, practice the songs and I will re-do the Bible lesson, which was done at the church, then we meet at 6 pm,” she said during an interview with Capital.

On the material day, March 29, the kids did as they had been instructed and their melodious voices captured the attention of residents of the area who quickly recorded the moment.

So far, Coronavirus has claimed 4 lives in Kenya and over 120 have tested positive.

The Ministry of Health has urged Kenyans to stay at home and only leave the house when necessary.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has also warned that the number of positive cases is likely to rise significantly due to local transmissions.

By SDE

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