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Madaraka Express resumes full service

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All is set for the resumption of a second Nairobi-Mombasa passenger train, with the first locomotive expected to leave the capital city on October 1 at 2.15pm.

In a notice, Madaraka Express operator Afristar said standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger train services will resume following the lifting of partial transport restrictions in Nairobi and Mombasa by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The firm released a new schedule for the trains that shuttle between the two counties.

KR has been operating two passenger trains between Nairobi and Mombasa, but from Thursday, it will operate four.

SGR passenger services resumed operations in July, a week after President Kenyatta relaxed measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Afristar will now have trains leaving Nairobi and Mombasa at the same time in the morning and two other trains leaving in the afternoon.

Morning trains from the two cities will depart at 8.00am, with one train departing from the Nairobi terminus for Mombasa and vice versa.

Thereafter, two other trains will depart Mombasa and Nairobi at 2.15pm.

The train services will be operating under strict coronavirus protocols.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the SGR will operate at 50 per cent capacity, with an extra coach for isolation.

To facilitate the smooth resumption of services, Afristar has deployed 10 coaches, including eight economy and two first-class coaches.

This is in line with Mr Macharia’s statement that 10 coaches should be provided to ferry close to 600 passengers on a one-way trip.

Additionally, all customer-facing employees must wear masks and gloves.

As of this morning, all passenger service staff serving customers have tested negative for Covid-19.

SGR passenger services were suspended back in April after President Kenyatta announced the cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa County and Mandera County.

On Monday, the Head of State announced an extension of the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew for an additional 60 days.

He, however, adjusted the curfew time from 9pm to 11pm with the new directives taking effect on Tuesday, September 29.

By Nation.co.ke

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Entertainment

‘I was jobless and about to be kicked out’ Tedd Josiah on how Kenyans came through for him after losing his wife

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Kenyan Music producer and JokaJok founder Tedd Josiah has thanked Kenyans for coming through when he lost his wife Reginah Katar.

Katar passed away just months after welcoming her daughter Jay.

Since then, Tedd says strangers became family and he is forever grateful.

‘To our beloved IG family, To say thank you doesn’t ever feel like it’s enough.

I was broken (am still in repair) and lost.

2017 Oct was all about cliffhanging in PAIN, learning how to raise a baby girl 3 months old ALONE! No nanny, no relatives, no one just baby and I walking the toughest walk I’ve ever had to.

Tedd Josiah

Guess who came through for us with baby clothes, with baby milk, with words of encouragement, with prayers and more prayers and more prayers…? Our IG FAMILY that was at the time only 20k at the time.

When JayJay’s 1st birthday 🎂 came along I was scared and very jobless about to be kicked out of our home.

People from as far as China sent JayJay gifts 🎁 and cakes 🎂 and so many other things. You made it bearable.’

Adding

‘When we launched mama’s idea of a bag company JOKAJOK you embraced us and have continued to build with us from day one.

Now we not only feed ourselves but we feed 11 other families through employment and we empower single mothers and fathers in our company.

Our head of leather studio is a lady feeding and fending for 3 children alone, all our other staff also have children to fend for and we’ve managed to come this far with you our IG family and build a legacy company.

Tedd Josiah

The road ahead is even longer and only God knows were it leads.

Sometimes strangers become closer than family and love you in a real way they will pray, fast, love and support you.
We don’t take that for granted at all and we want to thank you.

Let’s keep building the bear 🐻 family but also let’s build other people who maybe in need.

WE LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOU. LIVE 🦋 LOVE 💕 LAUGH 😂’

By Mpasho.co.ke

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Health

Cancer reminded me why I wanted to live

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In 1999 a young, tall, beautiful girl made news when she became M-Net’s Face of Africa, winning the Kenyan tittle. This win was only the beginning of her modeling career. Bidanya Barassa who was the second Kenyan to win this title made a career out of something she did not intend to be.

“My mum convinced me to go to a place called Kelu Modeling School that she had heard of, and since it was after high school, she convinced me to do it because I didn’t like computer classes.

“I was admitted to the school because I was about 5’10’’ tall. They said I could be a runway model and advised that I wear high heels (three inches) because of my height, and that is how it started,” she says.

She started immediately and within a week, she was already getting modeling contracts. But despite her success in the modeling space, Bidanya never thought modeling was a career or something she could do. At least not until she got onto the runway, started traveling around the world and started making money from it.

“I always saw people on TV modeling and I wondered what they were doing. I always thought it was not a career. I started enjoying it later on. Getting (into) M-Net face of Africa was a breakthrough for me as I traveled to the Caribbean and many exotic places.

“What I loved most about it was I didn’t have to go to my mum for money because I could now buy my own stuff and books as I loved reading,” she says.

Bidanya describes herself as passionate, lover of life, family-oriented, confident, pusher, leader and “multipotentialite”.

Battle with cancer

All was going well, then in 2010 she was diagnosed with Stage Two colon cancer. What started as a stomach ache with traces of blood in her stool, ended up as cancer which she battled for about a year.

“I was diagnosed in 2010. I was having stomach aches and there was blood in my stool, so I went to hospital for tests. We did a blood test, an X-ray and an ultra sound but they didn’t see much.

“The doctor said we needed to do more tests. We did an endoscopy and a colonoscopy and that’s when they found a growth on the left of my colon,” she says.

Bidanya remembers waking up from her colonoscopy wondering what the problem was. At the doctor’s office, she was told she did not have stomach cancer but had Stage Two colon cancer. She was not surprised as she had called her mum earlier before the doctor’s visit and told her that she was certain she had colon cancer.

“Before the final diagnosis, I was driving to my office and I remember thinking everything in my life was going very well. My career was doing fine, my boyfriend was perfect at that time and I thought maybe God was leading me down this path for a reason.

“I was shocked when the doctor confirmed my fears but I was not too surprised. I didn’t go through the denial stages, probably because I had already prepared myself mentally for the news by telling myself that I had cancer.

“I booked an appointment with a surgeon on January 3, 2010 and asked what I need to do. I was booked for the surgery and I started my treatment,” remembers Bidanya.

After her surgery on January 5, 2010, she believed she was done with her treatment but was advised to start chemotherapy after recovering from the surgery.

“I started chemotherapy after two weeks. This is when I got scared and it hit me that I had cancer. I had read that at Stage Two one doesn’t need chemotherapy but the doctor advised that I do it so that we can kill the cancer cells and not have it reoccur after three years or so.

“When I talked to my mum about it, she only had one question: Do I want to die? This had me thinking about all the things I wanted to do and all the plans I had and decided to have the chemotherapy,” she says.

After eight weeks in recovery, Bidanya started her chemotherapy, which lasted eight months. She says she prayed to God and told Him about her plans, and told Him that she did not want to lose her life.

“I was afraid that I would lose my hair due to chemotherapy. My biggest fear at that time was dying. I did not want to lose my life.

“After every three weeks, I would go for the chemo treatment and I would be in bed for about five days, get back to work then go back for my treatment in another three weeks.

“It was long and hard. I was nauseated, weak, food tasted like metal and I always had to force myself to eat so that I could recover faster. It was a long journey as chemotherapy is not easy,” she says.

After her chemotherapy, Bidanya went for another colonoscopy a year later and found no sign of cancer. Two years after her diagnosis, she went to India to do a pet scan, after which she was declared cancer-free.

“I already knew deep in my heart that I was healed. There is this verse in the Bible that says we are healed by Jesus’ stripes and I believed I was healed. The first thing I did after I was healed was pray and just thank God for the gift of life. It had been a long journey,” she says.

No more modeling

As the managing director of Top Image Africa, Bidanya has no plans of getting back on the runway.

“People always ask me this but I only did this part-time. I think it has served its purpose. Modeling is tough because you are relying on someone for your looks. It’s hard. It’s basically you going for auditions and if they like your face, height, hands and smile, you’re hired for the job.

“At that time, I was in campus and my goal was to do my undergraduate and masters degrees. I remember once when I was in South Africa, I was asked what would happen to my education if I was selected to go to New York.

“I told them I would transfer my credits and continue with my studies in New York, and they thought I was crazy. My goal has always been to be in the corporate world and run a successful business, so modeling played a purpose because it gave me my confidence.

“My height was an issue for me because I’m 5’10 but now I love my height and I wear heels that are four inches. I can’t wear flat shoes anymore unless I am going to the mall or travelling,” she says.

When it comes to love, Bidanya blushes and giggles when giving hints that she is in a relationship.

“I’m dating someone, even though I won’t give you a lot of information. He is an amazing man and we met in Ivory Coast when I was there for business. That’s all I can say,” she says laughing.

The former model is currently creating awareness about cancer, giving back to society and managing a modeling company.

She has an awareness programme on living healthy and eating healthy, and encouraging women to get screened for cancer. She runs it every Wednesday on her Instagram account.

By standardmedia.com

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Health

The after-effects of COVID-19 pandemic to cancer patients Rosa Agutu

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Corletta Mwende discovered she had a lump in her left breast in November 2019, and in January doctors confirmed it was Stage Two cancer. However, her plans to go to India for treatment were halted after all international flights were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since I was unable to go to India, my doctor gave me some medicine to manage the pain. However, after three months the lump had increased in size from 1.8cm to 2.7cm and also moved to my right breast,” says Mwende.

In August, Mwende’s doctor advised her to do a positron emission tomography (PET) scan that confirmed the disease had spread to her bones.

She adds, “I am now on chemotherapy. My doctor told me that I will go through treatment for two years. It was hard during the inter-county lockdown, and the report that cancer patients were vulnerable also demoralised most patients to visit health facilities. So getting treatment was quite a challenge.”

Catherine Wanjiru, a Stage Four colon cancer survivor, talks about the challenges she underwent to get permits to travel during the inter-county lockdown to assist patients who underwent colorectal cancer surgery and needed assistance on how to use colostomy bags.

A colostomy bag is used if your bowel needs to heal or part of your colon needs to be taken out following a severe disease.

During the surgery, the end of your stomach is brought through an opening in your abdomen to form a stoma, a hole where your stool will come out instead of the normal outlet. Your stoma does not have muscles to control when your stool can come out so a bag is used to collect your stool.

Colostomy bags

“After my surgery, I used the colostomy bag for two years. Then I went back to India to get training so that I could assist and sensitise colon cancer patients after realising that there was a lot of stigma around usage of the bag. I get calls from hospitals and I train nurses on what to do,” says Wanjiru.

However, Wanjiru says during the inter-county lockdown some patients were unable to get the bags and that some even died.

“Two patients died during the lockdown because they could not access the bag. I had to do something, so I went to the chief and the DO to get the permit; it was a whole process and a file full of papers. But finally, I was able to travel and assisted some of the patients,” says Wanjiru.

Wanjiru says people often feel uncomfortable when she talks about assisting patients on how to use and clean the colostomy bags.

“I always tell people poop is processed food, so there is nothing to be uncomfortable about. I always clean and show patients how to use the bags until they are confident enough to do it themselves,” says the cancer survivor.

Prisca Githuka, a breast cancer survivor and chairperson of The Cancer Survivors Association of Kenya, while addressing cancer patients and survivors at St Paul’s University Chapel yesterday during their first meeting since the first Covid-19 case was reported in the country, encouraged them to reach out for help.

“We have a WhatsApp platform and we made sure all members are active. Times are tough but we helped where we could, but sadly lost some patients during the lockdown,” says Githuka.

She adds, “The association is a psycho-social group, we call our members and sometimes have virtual meetings to encourage them as they go through their treatment.”

During the annual global week for action on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance of Kenya talked about the wave of later-stage diagnoses and dire complications following disruptions in routine people living with NCDs underwent.

The biggest was difficulty in accessing medication and treatment and postponement of appointments. For example in Mwende’s case, her earlier diagnosis indicated that she had Stage Two cancer, and a few months later the disease had progressed to Stage Four and spread to other parts of her body.

by STandardmedia.co.ke

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