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Not a holiday: What life is like in hotel quarantine

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Vincent Oloo had barely completed his two-weeks work trip in England when he saw the headlines; “No international passenger flight will land or take off from Kenya effective March 25, 2020.

” Having waffled for days watching as cascades of coronavirus-related travel bans and flight can celations to various countries come into effect, he decided to cut short his two-week trip in the country and hopped onto the next flight to his home country while he still could

The Transformational Breathing trainer had travelled to Glastonbury town in England on March 11, 2020 .

However, bearing in mind all the fear that was in the air around the globe, Oloo did not want to take any chances, he booked a direct flight from London to Nairobi with no stop overs. Aboard British Airways flight number BA 65, there were only a handful of passengers.

There were 35 people on the plane excluding the cabin crew and captains. The capacity of this plane should have been about 300 people if not more. On arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on March 23, at 9.40pm they were informed that they would be put on mandatory quarantine at a hotel of their choice.

“This information did not come as a surprise, I was aware that we needed to selfquarantine for the sake of our loved ones and country at large,” he says. Overnight airport stay However, Oloo says the way they were treated from the time they arrived at the airport to the evacuation to hotel was not the best. “My expectation was that we would be tested to see if any of us was positive of Covid-19 or not before any action was taken.

Vincent Oloo. COURTESY.

 

It was very interesting to see that upon arrival ‘home’ we were treated like sick people who did not even deserve to enter the country, it was more like you are sick until proven healthy,” he says. All the passengers were sent to a roped off area, where they were instructed to wait for government officials who would give them further direction. Their wait spurned into an overnight stay in the cold, without any information about the quarantine facility they were expected to occupy.

“The first person that came to talk to us arrived at 4.50am,” he laments adding. “I agree that with the compulsory quarantine for all the people entering Kenya, I feel there should have been better preparation for the same,” he says. The three gentlemen from the government who came to address them started out by reading out a list of available hotels that they could go to at their own cost. “It felt like an insult.

The hotels were too expensive for a common Kenyan who was just coming back home from visiting a relative, or even worked abroad,” he alludes.

The worst ordeal was having to move around town squashed in a National Youth Service bus that had no ventilations for a whole day,” he narrates.

First they were taken to Safari Park Hotel and on arrival, the management said they were not admitting any clients.

They stopped over at one more hotel without success and went to Kenyatta University Conference Centre.

Here they waited by the gate for about four hours without communication… “the next thing we heard was that we were going to Karen, then along the way plans changed and they found themselves at the University of Nairobi, Lower Kabete campus,” he narrates, adding, “We got stranded for another three hours before a hotel in Karen was confirmed.”

One of the officials even went ahead to say that we will not pay anything owing to the tribulations we had gone through for almost 24 hours clearly reading their frustrations.

At their designated hotel in Corat Africa, Karen, a three-star hotel.

None of the promises was fulfilled and they had to pay their own accommodation of Sh5,000 a day, including meals. By day 10 (Thursday last week) at the hotel, Oloo says he had received the much needed rest, “My stay here has been so good, I love the services and the staff at Corat are really friendly and caring,” he beams. Oloo describes this period, which expires today as a good opportunity for self-mediation, “I start my day with meditation and prayer when I wake up, then I do my physical exercises with some yoga then I go for breakfast.

I then do some work on my laptop before going out in the sun to hanng out with my fellow quare… the environment here is so good, as much as we keep our social distance, we still feel like a family, talking to each other, encouraging one another, laughing together and crying together when things are not so good.

In the afternoon I always have an opportunity to take a nap and in the evening after dinner I watch a movie or two on Netflix before going to sleep,” he describes.

Missing family Most importantly, he has experienced overwhelming calls from so many people. I always make a joke to my friends that ‘If you want to know you are loved, try dying,” he smiles.

“I have made new friends from this place and I think the relationships will continue way beyond this quarantine. My plan after this is to see how best I can support others who are going through different challenges caused by this pandemic, but most importantly spend quality time with my family,” he says. He says the officials from the ministry of health have been visiting them every day to check their temperatures and the Red Cross have been calling every so often to guide and counsel them, which he terms as very encouraging.

“ I can say that so far my stay here has been rewarding, the only challenge has been getting proper medical attention for one of us who has not been well since the beginning and the only test that has been done for him has been to check whether he is positive for Covid-19 or not, and even that has taken so long so I am worried for him,” says the father of three, Lucy , 17, Peter, 14 and Mark, 11, who he says he misses so much.

“They knew that I won’t be with them immediately when I come back this time, and they know that it is for their own good. They give me a reason to smile even when I feel down.

By PD


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Carpenter hopes payday in sight in 27-year fight over presidential seats

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For the past 27 years, Solomon Njoroge Kiore has battled with the government over a debt that was initially Sh195 million but has now ballooned to more than Sh500 million in an unpaid bill for presidential furniture he delivered.

Tomorrow (Monday), Mr Kiore will go to the High Court in Milimani hoping that the end is in sight as he is supposed to get a hearing date for a case that has had many twists and turns.

In 1992, Mr Kiore, the proprietor of Furncon, a furniture company, won a government tender to supply presidential furniture but down the line, the deal went sour when the military officials returned the chairs a year after President Daniel arap Moi had used them — allegedly without payment.

The chairs had been acquired through the Ministry of Defence and approved by State House, according to court documents.

The government has denied failing to make the payment and he went to court to seek redress in 2007.

Although Mr Moi used the chairs for a year, Furncon says the military returned them to his workshop.

With the matter dragging through the courts for years, in February 2018, a decision was reached to settle out of court.

But the parties could not agree on the amount to be paid, with the businessman citing lack of goodwill on the side of the state.

Sh527 million

That year, Mr Kiore was seeking Sh527 million, being the price, court costs and storage charges.

He told the court he did not receive any invitation to negotiate a settlement.

Then last year, Symon Yator Cheberek, a military colonel, took over the case after Attorney General Kihara Kariuki appointed him to represent the state in all civil matters in which the Ministry of Defence is a party.

High Court judge Joseph Sergon allowed Col Cheberek to act for the state, but Mr Kiore objected this saying allowing a military officer to take up the matter was tantamount to court-martialling him.

“There can never be a situation where a civilian can be in court one on one with a distinctive disciplined and uniformed force,” he stated in an affidavit on March 25, 2019.

Col Cheberek said he is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the Attorney General was in order to appoint him.

Mr Kiore wants Justice Sergon to recuse himself from hearing the matter, alleging bias and citing a 2017 ruling by Justice Philip Mwongo barring the military from taking over the case.

Justice Sergon has declined the recusal plea, saying the claims of bias could not be proved.

 Now, Mr Kiore says his business has died, as he can no longer use the premises where he has kept the chair as it is an instrument of power.

“It was used by a President for a year. It is treasured and therefore no one is supposed to touch it. My business has suffered immensely because of this seat,” he says in his court documents.

In a letter dated May 10, 2001, the Attorney General informed Mr Kiore that the Department of Defence had extended a without-prejudice offer purely out of honour and respect for presidential instruments.

“However, having realised that your claims include other items worth millions of shillings reflective of your other financial issues not related to the chair in question, it has not been possible to formally make the offer to you,” states the letter signed by V Onyango, a deputy litigation officer at the State Law Office.

Admission of liability

The offer, the officer states, is not the government’s admission of liability, because “the said chairs were ordered by the Agricultural Society of Kenya”.

The September 1992 deal was not the first. Mr Kiore’s company had sold furniture for VIP use in State functions to the government before.

He says the seat was made under strict supervision of the military and State House staff.

The firm says it was asked to make more furniture for presidential lounges at the Eldoret Moi Airbase and Kahawa Garrison and deliver the chairs to the Agricultural Society of Kenya offices in Nairobi for a three-day presidential function.

But the President ordered that the furniture remain at the ASK offices, according to a letter by the ASK dated August 5, 1999.

Now, Furncon wants a declaration that the ownership of the items was passed on to the government in September 1992, under the National Flag, Emblems and Names Act and as such they are instruments of power.

by nation africa


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Business

Go Green na Optiven

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It is the responsibility of everyone to tender and care for the planet for better and healthier future generations.
We call upon you to join any of these categories:
1. Those who are more environmentally friendly
2. Those who are ecologically responsible in both their decision making and lifestyles
3. Those who protect environment
4. Those who protect and sustain the natural resources in their area of business
5. Those who help to conserve resources like water, air and vegetation
6. Those who produce eco-friendly products, thus preventing pollution of our air, water and land
7. Those who can prove that they have been using Green Energy/clean energy such as solar power or if using conventional energy; they are using eco-friendly bulbs and that save energy.
How can each play a role this is a highlight of just but a few but you can  put your   role that  you are doing  to promote the  green agenda
1. Builders/Engineers/Architects/Interiors designers
i. Use of solar energy/ Use of solar panels
ii. Use of Energy saving bulbs, florescent tubes
iii. Use of organic paints, light friendly windows
iv. Use of Eco-friendly toilets
v. Harvesting of rain water from roof tops, use roofs that are Eco-friendly, ensure that water does not go to waste
vi. Proof of reduction of water bills as a result of going green
vii. Water recycling technologies like Bio digester
viii. Those whose provide green buildings, Eco-friendly homes
2. Farming, gardening, landscaping experts
i. Use of drip or sprinkler on not flooding water while gardening or farming
ii. Use of organic pesticides
iii. Use of organic manure
iv. Those who increase forests cover
3. Health businesses, Schools, Hospitals
i. Those providing natural skin care products & not petroleum or synthetic ingredients on the products
ii. Those offering advice on going green, creating awareness of going green
iii. Those who teach children on being a friend of the earth
iv. Those who buy from ethical farmers who are known to produce organic products
4. Transport industry, drivers, delivery companies and logistics firms/organizations
i. Those who reduce carbon emissions directly or indirectly
ii. Any Awareness of climate change
iii. Any knowledge of carbon emissions and how to reduce?
5. Property Owners within Optiven Projects
i. Planting of trees in their plots
ii. Adoption of water recycling technology
iii. Establishment of Green Spaces
iv. Proper waste disposal
6. SMEs
i. Those who recycle waste
ii. Those manufacturing from the recycled materials
iii. Those who take proper care of electronic wastes
iv. Tech companies that have a green policy on disposal of electric waste
v. SMEs that can prove awareness of global warming
7. Families
i. Those who adopt any of the going green initiative say family tree planting, planting a tree during birthday instead of having a birthday cake or doing both
ii. With children who are aware of climate change and also alive to ways of preventing in preventing it
iii. Families that are involved in separation of different form of waste and or engaged in any form of recycling
8. Hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, entertainment joins
i. Provision of organic food to customers
ii. Support of local farmers who do organic farming
iii. Awareness of climate change and its risks to humanity
9. Decision makers- checking the green component in your venture
i. Any policy decisions on going green
ii. Awareness on global warming
iii. Any knowledge of implementation of United Nations Development Goals
10. Children: If you are a child who is school going or otherwise and you have started being sensitive to the planet by doing conservation activities
11. Others: If you  believe that you are a friend of the planet, let us know
#SaveTheEarth
#SaveOurPlanet
#GoingGreen=Healthy Families
George Wachiuri
Trustee
Optiven Foundation


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VIDEO: Optiven CEO opens up about growing up in abject poverty, doing laundry for fellow students

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George Wachiuri, the CEO of Optiven Limited, has opened up about a side of him few people know about. Despite having built a multi-billion Shilling Real Estate Company and becoming one of the most recognisable names in the field, Wachiuri has remained a humble servant, who says he views his customers as associates and greatly respects and values his work mates. 

In an interview with Jeremy Damaris of Kenya Diaspora Media, he tells of how he struggled, lost money and friends, before rebounding “by the grace of God.”

A Certified Public Accountant – CPA (K) and is a former Lecturer at Daystar University, his entrepreneurial spirit developed early, and was awarded the Entreprenuer of the year 1997 by the University of Nairobi.

He is currently a PhD candidate at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

He holds a Masters’s degree in Business Administration (University of Nairobi), and a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing option) Degree from University of Nairobi.

Watch as he tells his amazing story in Gīkūyū


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