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Quarantine is no picnic, but I found God amid the chaos

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“Once it had dawned on me that I would be at the quarantine camp for weeks, and after all the drama that had drove me from Kenya, Spain, Italy and back, I decided to keep calm and watch the drama around me unfold.

Quarantine is not a picnic site. It is not a holiday camp. You are cut off — deliberately — from the outside world. Loneliness rules.

Quarantine. I had heard this word before. My kids were watching some Hanna Montana movie and I overheard them say someone had been quarantined. A boy.

He was sick and had to be isolated. He wouldn’t have contact with the real world till he got better. Now I was that person. Kept away from the rest of the world.

I needed a coping mechanism. The doctor who had initiated us into camp life had assured us that, being a government facility, stuff was free “unless other unforeseen costs would arise”.

I made myself comfortable in my room, unpacked my luggage and arranged my clothes into the wardrobe. Still, my fear of contracting the coronavirus engulfed me.

All the inmates were high-risk. Especially those from China, the epicentre of the global outbreak. I saw a girl who had failed the temperature test at the airport and decided to get details of how she got to the camp.

A National Youth Service bus transports new arrivals from JKIA to isolation centres on March 24, 2020. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

She said she got dehydrated after she drowned herself in free alcohol on her flight from Addis to Nairobi. This, coupled with the fact that it was so hot at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, had raised her temperature to 39°.

READ ALSO:   CS Kagwe found guilty of contempt of court order

I remembered how she had cried and how a security officer had pushed her away. It turned out that she asked for some cold water, splashed it on her face and drank the rest.

This reduced her temperature to at least 37°! Crazy stories inside this camp! What I realised was that keeping distance here was no option, but very few adhered to the rule.

We had to queue for food on a marked line. Nevertheless, majority of girls had found an opportunity to hook up with their “brothers from abroad”.

On the queue, I overheard some young girls over lunch saying that these ‘dudes’ from majuu still had their foreign cash. That it was in order to get as much quid from them as soon as possible.

In fact, one emphasised: “Before they got any contacts from their families” (insert flushed-face emoji).

On the third day, we had our first briefing. All was well. Emphasis was on social distancing. Our personal responsibility to sanitise and wash hands was drilled into us — like we had forgotten! It reminded me of school assembly over three decades ago.

“How did I get myself in the mess?!” My inner voice pestered me. “How long will I listen to these monotones from health workers …with all these strangers.”

READ ALSO:   CS Kagwe orders immediate probe on Lancet over unclear COVID-19 results 

Around me were slightly over 130 people I may never have known. Why had I left home for Spain in the first place? I realised I was going insane by the minute.

Still, I kept close contact with my three friends. In fact, we had adjacent rooms and would interact over meals. Soon we made a discovery.

There was a Wi-Fi hub at the centre. This was the best discovery and people would converge there — keeping social distance of course — and get busy on their phones.

Over meals, we would keep the recommended distance and engage in friendly conversations. That is when I learned that people had no intentions of partying — as they did on first day — but that a little celebration for getting home safely was in order.

This was after Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced that people were partying with careless abandon.

All our food was packed. Plastic cans, tea urns and paper cups were the norm. Sugar, drinking chocolate, Nescafe, fruits all came in neat packs. Hygiene was observed.

There were litter bins all over and I noticed that, for the first three days, majority of the people were not eating at all.

They were just taking the beverages, fruits and water. As days went by, the appetite picked up, and on the fifth day I enjoyed some fish and ugali. This government facility wasn’t that bad after all.

READ ALSO:   COVID-19: About 3,000 police officers to be quarantined

I had not informed my friends of my arrival until the first night at the camp. I hadn’t answered calls nor replied to messages.

But why? It’s only after lunch on the first day that I realised that my mind, body and soul had disconnected completely!

Was I losing myself amid all this trauma? What exactly was going on? Is this the point where people see psychiatrists? Why couldn’t I feel my spirit?

Where was I in this? I didn’t feel like engaging in any conversation where one would ask me how I felt or where I was.

I would only key it in but speaking about it brought me some strange sadness. So I kept on updating my friends on Facebook, where I didn’t have to answer any questions.

Nights were strange since I had to keep to my room. There was no TV and no social interaction. It was just me and God. And that is when I realised how close God had always been.

That we have been very close friends. Very close. And that He’s always been there, taking me from turmoil to safety … and that even this would soon be over. With this, I made a decision.

I would seek like-minds here and engage in some kind of Bible study and prayer meetings. Indeed, I decided my coping mechanism would be speaking to God and finding my purpose.

That is how I and three other inmates embarked on a daily one-hour session of Bible study. Did it work? Did we really have like minds and purpose?”

To be continued

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Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee named the new Harambee Stars coach

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Celebrated coach and media personality Jacob Ghost Mulee has made a return to the National team.

This comes just a day after Head coach Francis Kimanzi and his entire technical team was shown the door.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) confirmed the appointment of Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee and has since unveiled him.

Mulee first assignment is to prepare the team that will face Comoros in AFCON Qualifier match that’s set to be played in November.

Kimanzi left the scene after he masterminded what had been tipped to be an unlikely friendly win against Zambia on October 9 at Nyayo Stadium.

He was appointed in 2019 to replace Sebastien Migne who he worked with as an assistant coach.

Mulee return reminds Kenyans when national team charges helped to qualify for the 2004 Afcon edition in Tunisia.

He is also credited to have mentored the current J1 League top scorer Michael Olunga and his appointment has provided an opportunity for the duo to work again at national level.

Under Nick Mwendwa Mulee becomes the fifth coach to have been appointed since he took office in 2016.

Stanley Okumbi took over in February 2016 and exited in October 2017 while Paul Put who led Kenya to Cecafa title took over in November 2017 and left in February 2018.

READ ALSO:   CS Kagwe found guilty of contempt of court order

Migne who led the country to the 2019 Afcon finals but, a Chan qualifying setback against Tanzania saw him part ways with the team on mutual consent paving the way for Kimanzi’s rise to the helm.

Kimanzi remained in charge from August 2019 to October 20, 2020, and he left just days after Mwendwa had secured another four-year term as the FKF president.

Mulee and his technical bench are expected to help Harambee Stars fight for back-to-back Afcon qualifications with two matches against Egypt and Togo already played.

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Lolani Kalu lands lucrative TV job 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Former NTV journalist Lolani Kalu is set to make TV comeback after landing a job in a local upcoming TV station.

The talented journalist made headlines a month ago after his plight after retirement was highlighted with his fans calling on the public to come to his rescue.

Speaking to fellow journalists today, Lolani disclosed that he had just signed a one-year contract with TV47 that will see him become coast regional reporter for the station.

According to the 57-year old, the opportunity came after his fans saw him shooting a personal show with one of the artists he was interviewing having TV47 branding.

The excited fans then called the station to find out if he had signed a deal with them and that is what prompted the young TV station to hand Lolani the contract.

He said that he was very grateful and delighted for having another chance in media, adding that the opportunity to work with the station will help him get back on his feet after financial constraints in recent years.

Lolani hopes to revive some of the shows he had while still on NTV like Gumzo Mtaani and Malinmwengu na Lolani at TV47.

READ ALSO:   Kahush: CS Kagwe breaks silence after son is spotted at house party 

He further promised to give back to his fans who came in scores to support him when his story went viral on social media, making him believe in himself and rise again.

He also lauded supporters who did a fundraiser for him through some of the shows that he has since started since he bought a new camera.

He stated that discussions are in progress with TV47 to schedule the exact date for him to return to the screens after putting pen to paper with the TV station.

Lolani also thanked his fans for believing in his work adding that he spent the money they contributed for him in acquiring equipment including a camera worth Sh370, 000.

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Eldoret’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

The surge in COVID-19 cases outside Nairobi has now begun overwhelming hospitals in other counties, among them Moi Referral.

A report by the Standard said that the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret was getting overrun by COVID-19 patients.

Moi Teaching is the second-largest referral hospital in Kenya after Kenyatta National Hospital.

A doctor speaking to The Standard said that over the past two weeks, the hospital had witnessed a surge in COVID cases.

The facility also doubles up as a COVID-19 testing centre.

“The number of COVID-19 cases in MTRH is shocking. It is really sad witnessing patients in respiratory distress. This is so unfortunate,” the doctor, requesting anonymity, told The Standard.

The doctor also revealed that many of his colleagues were down with the virus, which has infected over 45,000 in Kenya.

The number of patients requiring high volumes of oxygen and ICU admission was rising, the doctor said. He also revealed that the hospital isolation wards were full.

Uasin Gishu has emerged as a county to watch as cases surged there in recent weeks.

Yesterday, the county tied with Nairobi, each reporting 116 cases.

The day before that, it came in third with 17 cases.

READ ALSO:   Kahush: CS Kagwe breaks silence after son is spotted at house party 

The area governor, Jackson Mandago, confirmed the fast spread of the virus in his county.

“The surge is real. The disease has spread and we have seen people that we know collapsing and dying, only to test positive for COVID-19 post-humously.” Mandago said.

The county recently buried Huruma MCA, Peter Chomba, who succumbed to the virus.

Indeed, residents in Uasin Gishu have lowered their guards completely.

Sources from the area indicate that people have completely discarded masks and are holding funerals and other large gatherings.

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