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Seeing victory in the face of adversity & life in US

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In life, sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find hope. This is what depicts the life of one Rister Ratemo, song writer, gospel artist and author who has walked a difficult path in her life, but managed to come out strong.

Rister, 36, was born at Manga Settlement Scheme in Nyamira county in a family of six siblings. Her parents are retired school teachers. “Life while growing up was amazing. I was brought up in this community set up where everybody felt loved and we treated each other as friends,” says Rister.

One morning in 1997, Rister noted a small growth on her left eye. That started a painful journey towards finding treatment, which would take more than 20 years.

She offers: “By then, I was only 13, and just about to sit for my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education [KCPE) exams. My parents took me to see various doctors and eye specialists. The diagnosis was keratoconus, a rare condition. I was advised to go for surgery in India, but we didn’t have funds to cater for the flight or treatment cost. Amidst all the frustrations and agony, I just lived with the condition and managed it with eye drops and eye glasses,” Rister recalls.

Despite all this, she performed well in her KCPE exams in 1997 and was the top girl in her school; Eronge Mixed Adventist Boarding School, Nyamira.

“I joined Kenya High School and after four years, I passed my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in 2001. I would later proceed to the University of Nairobi for a degree in Economics and Communication and graduated in December 2007,” she says.

Gradual recovery

Rister secured a job with Equity bank in 2008 as a credit officer. After working for four years, she approached her boss and requested she be assisted to pay for her eye surgery through insurance. Fortunately, her request was granted and she underwent her first surgery in February 2011 at the Aga Khan Hospital.

She explains: “In 2013, I went in for my second surgery. The doctor didn’t handle the surgery well. As he was taking out the stitches on my left eye, he pulled the sutures wrongly and there was a tear in the eye, which he didn’t notice. When I went back home, I experienced an insurmountable amount of pain. I had to go back to the hospital only to be told that I needed to undergo an emergency operation. Well, to cut the story short, the process of recovery has been long and gradual. Up to now, I’m still recovering and using my eye drops and artificial tears,” she explains.

As if her eye problem was not enough, Rister got in a come-we-stay marriage that never worked.

“By then, I had my firstborn son whom I got while I was still in campus and due to tribalism issues [I am Kisii and he was from a different tribe) both our parents were not comfortable. I was of the opinion that if my parents wouldn’t give us their blessings, I wouldn’t get married to that guy. So, he moved on with his life,” she explains.

Rister also moved on. “This guy looked humble and collected. But as time went by, he started abusing alcohol and would get violent. He also got in touch with his ex and before I knew it, they had a child together,” she says.

Rister, and her two children Trevor Michoro and Dexter Muko. PD/ KWACH WAKHISI

Becoming a single mum

Rister reached a point of brokenness. In as much as she tried to cope and keep her marriage because she had already sired a child with him, deep inside she was hurting.

“One day he hit me so badly in the presence of my child and that is when I decided enough was enough. I walked out of the abusive marriage and ended up being a single mother of two boys,” Rister says.

Due to her failed second relationship, she lost friends along the way, quit her job at Equity and was even ex-communicated from church because of having a child out of wedlock. “It has not been easy because single mums face a lot of backlash from the society, but I always strive to protect my children and make them understand what happened. They are now aged 13 and seven years. I reconnected my first born son with his biological dad and during holidays, he goes to spend time with him. My younger son is still affected by my separation with his father,” says Rister.

Rister spent time on Google reading inspiring stories of influential people and motivational speakers such as Oprah Winfrey and Les Brown and discovered that they also went through a difficult phase in their lives just like her “That was a wake-up call for me —that I would make it despite all odds. A programme dubbed The Miracle Morning helped me to get out of my depressive state,” she says.

Rister started holding motivational talks and mentorship sessions with secondary school students in her community and posted the pictures on the ‘Miracle Morning’ Facebook page. Her mentor, Hal Elrod, an American author and success coach, whom she had met online, saw them and was impressed. He requested her to go to the US and have a platform to share her story in a global meeting, the ‘Miracle Morning Convention’, of people from 45 countries across the globe, mostly from Europe and America.

“The first time I applied for a visa, I was denied. Elrod wrote a letter to the Embassy requesting them to give me an opportunity to go to the US because at that time, he was down with cancer. He wanted to do a documentary of his journey and also feature my story and of several other people because he was not sure whether he could make it. I therefore, got a visa and came to the US in 2017. I left my sons under the care of my parents,” she says.

While in the US, Rister started composing songs. Today, she has several gospel songs to her name. She has six songs on YouTube. “I am hoping to relocate back home to Kenya in December this year and produce my second album,” she says.

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Lifestyle

Murang’a farmer finds fortune in rare sweet potato varieties

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It is harvest time at Wambui Kiragu sweet potato farm when we visit. Wambui, popularly known as Sara Murimi, grows premium orange and purplefleshed sweet potatoes in a two-acre family farm in Mugumo-ini, Kirimiri sublocation of Maragua, Murang’a county.

Her farming journey started right after she completed her university studies in 2014, when she began growing onions and capsicum, then ventured into paw paw and water melon business.

However, the learning curve was steep as she had underrated some factors, such as consistent availability of water, the cost and quality of labour and security. As a result, she lost a whole crop of onions when her water pump broke down and her water melon field was cleared by thieves a night before harvesting.

As a ‘telephone-farmer’ (farmers who remotely run the farm via the telephone), her farm manager would also connive with agrovet shops to inflate prices and volume of inputs. Tired of all these challenges, she decided to take a break to reflect. “When I ventured into farming I had big dreams.

But I wish I knew better. I wouldn’t have started with the so-called high value crops. I would have chosen a crop, such as sweet potatoes, which allows one to learn at a fair pace before upgrading,” recounts Wambui.

She tried her luck in the farm again two years later, but this time round, she settled on sweet potatoes, which are not labour intensive and don’t require a lot of farm inputs and water, have distinct harvesting time and good market value. She went for the orange-fleshed variety know for its nutrious value.

This variety is packed with betacarotene, an important vitamin good for eyesight and the purplefleshed variety that has anti-cancer nutrient called anthocyanin.

Rare varieties

“I did extensive research on these two varieties and I could clearly see their untapped potential.

I also realised that the two varieties were not widely available thus making them more expensive compared with other varieties,” she recounts.

Her next step was to visit the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) for her seedlings as well as advise on the agronomy of growing sweet potatoes. KEPHIS runs a tissue culture lab of sweet potatoes to ensure that farmers get clean and disease-free planting materials. And the plant didn’t disappoint. Three and half months later, it was ready for harvesting. At first she had challenges marketing the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes because her customers, mainly her neighbours would over-cook them and then report that they were soggy, impacting her sales. She had to introduce cooking lessons to them and since then the business is growing, leading to another challenge!

The capacity to meet the quality and quantity requirements. “On quantity, I am still unable to provide consistent volumes to meet the demands of my regular clients, but am working hard to expand the farm since the demand is there,” she says. And to ensure she minimises on postharvest losses, she says that she harvests her produce once the leaves and end of the vines start turning yellow because if sweet potatoes overstay in the soil, they can be attacked by weevils, which make grooves on the tubers thus lowering their market quality.

Apart from that, if the tuber overstays in the soil, they also become too big, which is not desirable by the market.

Online marketting

Wambui says that her biggest clientele are her neighbours in Nairobi, whe she lives and works as aresearcher in urban food systems. She markets the potatos through their neighborhood resident association’s WhatsApp group and also sells through social media platforms, the likes of Digital Farmers Kenya.

She has also linked up with a trader who arranges home grocery deliveries and picks 100kgs every week. She is currently trying to link up with restaurants as they slowly start picking up from the impacts of Covid-19. Wambui, who graduated with an environmental studies degree and has a broad experience in sustainable agriculture, says that her plan is to go into processing and provide a market for farmers. And to ensure this is a success, especially when it comes to quantity, she has started distributing vines to her neighbours in Kirimiri SubLocation for free.

She also sells the vines at a nominal fee and so far, she has a network of farmers in

over 25 counties who have bought and are planting the purple-fleshed variety. “With the new craze of no-wheat diet, I want to make a difference in people’s diet as they try to cut on wheat consumption and go back to traditional foods. I wish that every farming household grows these nutritious varieties of sweet potatoes.

In providing a market, I will be able to make a difference in women farmers lives.” To her orange-fleshed sweet potatoes fetches a better market because it can be used in different recipes.

Apart from the normal way of boiling and eating, it can also be used to make chapati, mandazi, doughnuts, chips, crisps among other meals. For the purplefleshed variety, the brillant colour and health benefits command a higher price, opening a potentially profitable niche market.

Her advise to anyone wishing to venture into farming is that they should carefully choose their learning curve.

“Do not start with the so-called high value crops because chances of starting with failure are high. Sweet potatoes allow you to learn more than the actual agronomy of a crop, for instance, labor management, marketing and so on,” she offers
THE GENESIS

• Wambui comes from a family with a farming background. She owes her success in farming to her supportive parents.

• Her father is an agricultural economist and guides her to think more about gross margins than hobby farming.

• Wambui is a telephone farmer and works on part-time basis as a researcher in urban food systems.

• She is an environmental studies graduate.
• She sells the sweet potatoes at Sh100 per kg and the vines at Sh10 per vine.

By PD.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Loving husband asks wife to put legs on table as he serves her food

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A Nigerian lady identified as Comfort Oroboghene has revealed how her husband ordered her to sit down and put her leg on the table while he served her food.

Husband asks wife to put leg on the table as he serves her food

The lovebirds got married in August. Photo credit: Yabaleft
Source: UGC

Comfort, who got married in August, took to Twitter to narrate how she went home hastily so as to prepare dinner for her husband.

She said on getting home, her husband laughed at her and ordered her to maintain a relaxing position for her meal to be served.

According to Comfort, her husband asked her if she thought he was part of the generation that sees cooking as the sole responsibility of the woman.

She wrote:

“Ran home early to cook and this man laughed at me.

“You think you’re married to a man from the other generation. Sit down and put leg on the table, let me serve you jhor.

“It’s been 30 mins and he’s still laughing at me. Someone I said I should pity coz he went to market.”

Below are some of the reactions to the post:

A Twitter user with the handle @vickelokorie prayed for the couple to have everlasting joy in their marriage.

Another Twitter user asked if there was anyone who detested such enjoyment.

Below are other comments:

In other news, A curvy beautiful lady on Twitter with the handle Adethayorr went online to ask men to woo her if they are interested in her.

In a Twitter post on Friday, September 25, she boldly asked people to shoot their shots, telling them that there may just be hope for one person.

Attaching two beautiful pictures of herself, she made her call for a partner a perfect one.

by Tuko.co.ke

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Africa

Man praises stepdad for being amazing father

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Thabani Nhlengethwa, a South African man, has shared a touching story on Facebook about the man who raised him.

Thabani Nhlengethwa praised his stepdad for making him the man he is today. Photo credit: Facebook/Thabani Nhlengethwa

Thabani Nhlengethwa owes every success he will experience in the future to his stepdad. Photo credit: Facebook/Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

In a post written on #ImStaying group, the young man praised his stepdad for being an outstanding man and amazing human being.

He said he owes every success that he enjoys in the future to his dad, Jita.

According to Thabani, Jita met his mom back in 1996. He was only four years old at that time.

Jita accepted Thabani and his siblings who were all sired in previous relationships.

Man praises stepdad for being amazing father, exceptional husband

Thabani hopes to give his stepdad the world one day. Photo: Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

The kind man schooled them, fed them and protected them as if they were his own flesh and blood.

The netizen owed everything he knew to the man who raised him and hoped that one day fortune would knock on his door and enable him to treat Jita like a king.

He added that at the moment, the fanciest thing he can do is take his stepdad out for breakfast, but soon things will change.

Man praises stepdad for being amazing father, exceptional husband

The man said his stepfather was the breadwinner and did not mind providing for them. Photo: Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

“I love and owe every success I might have in the future to this amazing gent right here. Jita met my mom in 1996, I was only four-years old by then and my mom already had 4 kids from her previous relationships.”

“Jita took all of us under his wing, took us as his kids and loved us. He took us to school and we all were able to finish matric because of him. My mom was not working and so Jita was the breadwinner,” he said.

In a related story by TUKO.co.ke, a young lady took to Facebook on Monday, June 15, and shared a beautiful story about the hero of her life.

At the age of three, Portia Thabisile’s biological father decided to leave her and her mother.

Thankfully, her mother met a wonderful man who raised Portia as his own daughter.

She shared her inspirational post via the I’m Staying Facebook group.

“I am staying because of my daddy, he took me in when I was three years, after my biological father left me and my mum, he gave me love till today,” the lady wrote.

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