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Migori granny’s secrets to her 103rd birthday



On a frosty Tuesday morning, the elderly woman sits pensively inside her two-roomed house, warmly dressed to ward off the July chill.

When the arrival of the Nation team is announced, she elatedly ushers us into the house on the slopes of Kanyimach in South Kamagambo, Rongo Sub-County.

After prayers and introduction, she leads us, while supporting herself on a walking stick, to a corner of the compound where the interview is to take place.

The first thing one notices is that, despite having walked the earth for slightly over a century, Mama Dorine Akeyo still bubbles with cheerfulness and energy.

Vividly recalls events

And, while memory starts failing many much earlier in life, we soon find out that she is able to vividly recall events that took place during her childhood as if they happened just the other day.

A broad smile lights up her face as she talks about good health, family life and the tough times she has endured. She’s looking forward to her 103rd birthday.

The centenarian is considered the oldest woman alive in Migori County. She attributes her good health to a simple and spiritual lifestyle. The mother of five has always stuck to traditional meals. She is also a strict adherent of the Seventh Day Adventist church.

“I was baptised at Ranen Mission Church and appointed deaconess,” she says. Her daughter-in-law, Ms Eunice Ongoro, describes the matriarch as hard-working and generous.

“We have never lacked food as she always prepared three trays of ugali for the family and the many guests our family has hosted over the years. From the time I was newly married, I have learnt a lot from her and this has kept me going even after losing my husband,” she said.

Over 50 grandchildren

Mama Akeyo — who boasts more than 50 grandchildren and a dozen great grandchildren — says she was born around 1918 in Migori County.

“My parents told me I was born before the Europeans came to our part of the country, at a time a big war was going on,” she says.

Her identity card shows she was born in 1920. She, however, says she was issued with the document when she was already an elderly person.

“We estimated our ages based on the seasons,” said Mama Akeyo, whose daughters are aged 54, 65 and 68 years. Unfortunately, she lost her two sons to an illness.

“We ate traditional vegetables and drank blood drawn from my father’s cattle. My father would get the blood and my mother would prepare it using herbs, then serve it as part of our meals. Unlike today when people buy cooking oil from shops, my mother would make cooking fat from fermented milk and use it to prepare traditional vegetables and other meals,” recalls Mama Akeyo. Another interesting thing about her childhood was how they conserved water.

 “We fetched water from a spring that exists to date. Banana plants were grown next to the stream to keep the water fresh,” recalls Ms Akeyo.

Mama Dorine Akeyo demonstrates how maize was traditionally ground into cooking  flour.
Ian Byron | Nation Media Group

Grinding maize, millet

She nostalgically recalls being taught how to grind maize, millet and sorghum into flour using special stones, a skill she artfully deploys to date. A wistful look creases her face when we ask about her friends.

“All my peers have passed on. It is difficult to find someone of my age in this village. Even those we danced with during traditional ceremonies are no more,” she said. Asked about modern cooking styles, she shakes her head with disapproval.

“We prepared food in a simple way. We would boil the vegetables for several hours and pour out the water before adding a little milk as a flavouring. This made the food nutritious and delicious,” said Ms Akeyo. She says modern cooking has exposed people to diseases.

“Nowadays, it is normal to find people buying fresh meat from the butchery and cooking it immediately. This is unhealthy at a time when animals are being treated with chemicals. I think this is the main cause of the many health issues being witnessed. That was unheard of when I was growing up,” she offers.

“Back in the day, meat had to be either sun-dried for a week or roasted before it could be cooked,” recounts the centenarian, who also cautions young people against fast foods.

“Young people nowadays eat anything as long as it is fried,” she says. And how does she get by?

“I have been receiving a stipend from the government like other elderly people and that is what has kept me going. I thank the government for considering the elderly. My appeal, however, is that it should be enhanced since the majority of the elderly are living in abject poverty,” she said.



Eric Omondi denies Jacque Maribe’s son in new pregnancy reveal



By Wanja Waweru

Eric Omondi, an award-winning comedian and creator of digital entertainment, and Lynne, a social media influencer and commercial model, have revealed they are expecting a child.

The pair enthusiastically announced the news in a combined Instagram post. Lynne can be seen donning a yellow two-piece costume in the images that have been released, proudly displaying her growing baby belly.

Eric, who was completely covered in black, stands protectively behind her and gently strokes the lump.

In her third trimester, Lynne undoubtedly looks pregnant. Eric expressed his excitement at having his own flesh and blood in the caption of the photo, which is odd given that he shares a child with Jackie Maribe, a former media celebrity.

Eric continued by equating himself with Sarah from the Bible, who’d It has taken me 41 years but finally God has blessed me with my own,” started the entertainer excitedly.

He went on to add, “The Fruit of my loins! I feel like Sarah of Abraham of the Bible, she waited all her life for a child of her own.

Thank you baby for making me a father❤❤🙏🙏🥰🥰. And to God thank you for returning our baby to us,” the last of his post read.

It has taken me 41 years but finally God has blessed me with my own,” started the entertainer excitedly.

Seven months ago, Lynne tragically miscarried at barely eight weeks of pregnancy, and Eric and his girlfriend announced they had lost their first child.

The medical professionals there did everything they could to save the little angel, but it was in vain, as Eric refers to the night as the longest night of his life.

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Mwalimu Rachel: Managing Sailors Gang my biggest regret!



By Wanja Waweru

The long-running feud between oppular radio host Rachel Muthoni Njeru, often known as Mwalimu and the gengetone boy band Sailors Gang has been being brought up again, with Rachel stating that managing the group is one of her greatest regrets.

The social media influencer shared this in an interesting conversation she had on her official YouTube channel with a friend named Monicah Wairimu Mwariri.

“What is your biggest regret? Like the one thing you say if I could have done differently I would have gotten different/ better results as Mwalimu Rachel?”

Monicah who was acting as the moderator of that specific episode posed the question to Rachel.

“Managing… managing Sailors Gang!” replied the NRG radio presenter without a second thought.

She continued by saying that interacting with the group had been such a challenge that it had put her in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

“Wueh! Wewe ushawahi lala cell (have you ever spent a night in jail)?” Rachel asked the host to which she replied she’d never and doesn’t even ever wish to encounter such a moment.

Mwalimu Rachel said that while she was in charge of the gengetone male group, she had spent a night in a police cell.

Mimi nililala cell, like wueh…” Rachel revealed.

Sharing a snippet of the interview with her over 403k Instagram followers Rachel wrote, “Cell nayo nililala ni ukweli… wueh! That was a DAAARK time for me. It’s okay though… Time for EVERYONE to hear my story from ME.”

She stated in another post that the reason she was finally speaking about it was so that the suffering she had endured would not be in vain.

“Hopefully my experience will educate other managers as well as caution artists against some things,” Mwalimu Rachel’s post read.

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US announces changes to student visa application process



US State Department has revealed changes in policy that will impact foreign students entering the US.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced during the National Association of other Student Advisers (NAFSA) in Washington that they had streamlined the visa application process for students from other nations, including Kenya, who want to pursue higher education overseas.

According to him, applicants won’t need to participate in an interview to complete their application.

This adjustment is a significant deviation from the standard procedures, which at first required an interview.

The Department also extended the window in which a Visa application may be submitted, bringing it from 120 days to a full year.

Blinken stressed the significance of forging alliances with other nations when discussing visa reforms in order to provide students with additional opportunities  options to study abroad.

He applauded organizations like NAFSA for helping students seize opportunities and for organizing student exchanges.

“At the State Department, we are working to expand international education. After the acute phase of the pandemic ended, more and more international students began applying to study in the US again. We took steps to streamline our visa process and make it easier for students to apply,” he said.

M Square Media’s CEO, Raghwa Gopal, applauded the US government for taking action to expand international study programs. Gopal asserted that by giving students the skills they would need for future international engagements, the short-term educational courses would be advantageous to the students.

Foreign students can enter a recognized college, university, high school, or other educational program in the US under the academic student program.

Foreign students must be admitted by a school that has received formal US government recognition, and the program must result in a certification, certificate, or degree.

After a popular outcry, the deadline for the hike in worldwide visa fees was postponed from the originally announced date of May 30 to June 17; some applicants will now have to pay up to Sh42,000 to obtain the travel document.

Business and tourist visas (category B1/B2S), student visas (F), and exchange visitor visas (J) are the categories that would see a rise, going from Sh21,800 ($160) to Sh25,206 ($185) visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will cost Sh27,941 ($205) from Sh25,897 ($190).

The US Embassy in Nairobi stated that they acknowledge the critical role that international travel plays in the US economy and pointed out that President Joe Biden’s foreign policy places a high priority on granting visas, particularly for work and tourism. They insisted that the fees are only intended to cover the costs of providing the consular services.

The cost of non-immigrant visas hasn’t gone up since 2014, so this is a big deal.

Following the suspension of the process in 2020 as part of the safety measures established at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, the embassy has been dealing with a massive backlog of visa interviews.

The Embassy shortened the wait time for visa interviews for Kenyan visitors last month and permitted renewal of some categories without going through an interview physical appointments.

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