Tough as it were, the year 2020 was our best
Last year was a unique and challenging one, as it was characterised by pain and loss, making life difficult for many on the financial, emotional and physical spheres. Despite everything, here we are in a new year taking with us invaluable lessons learnt. And for some, it was a blessing in disguise
Established a business
Mombasa-based loctician, Christopher Majengo had set goals that in 2020, he would start his own business. And in June last year, right in the peak of the pandemic, when so many businesses were going down, he started Empire Dreadlocks Empire.
“Nobody knew what 2020 had in store for us. So even before coronavirus, I had been working on my goals, saving and putting my money in revolving funds,” he reveals.
Majengo says this is what kept him going during the rough moment. “My side hustle saved me a lot. At one point, I took my servicies to clients who couldn’t make it to the parlour using my bodaboda,” he shares.
He adds: “I used to advise my friends not to depend on salaries alone. Not to depend on one job or source of income. Those who listened never suffered as much.” One lesson he learnt is to always set goals despite the barriers.
Hernia healed, true love won
Juney Karisa, daughter of the late Kisauni MP and former Cabinet minister Karisa Maitha, had a lavish wedding in September last year attended by the who-is-who in society.
It was a dream come true, but it was after a difficult time. Two weeks into 2020, she was diagnosed with Hiatus Hernia, a condition where part of the stomach pushes into the chest cavity.
By the end of January, she went through her first surgery with her love, Patrick Mwavula, by her side.
“As my condition worsened and the doctors kept on changing drugs, I dint have much hope that my relationship could withstand the tumultuous period.
It was too much for my family, especially my mum. So I couldn’t have blamed my love if he left at that time.
I could see the helplessness in every person who visited me at the hospital. The other bad ordeal was, it was during Covid-19 times so they never allowed visitors except for my mum, my sister and him.
He surprised me for sure and proved I was worthy of him. Those were the longest three months, but he made me hold on to life. To date, I don’t know how to thank him,” she recalls.
When she was discharged, Patrick proposed to her. The wedding was set, but still there were some challenges, especially the lockdown, which was limiting attendance of family who were outside the county.
A week to the wedding day, the President lifted the ban and so many confirmed their attendance.
“Our wedding was a hyped event. I think it is because people had missed partying and this was a good reason to do so,” she says.
Work from home, a saviour for new mums
The greatest fears for any new mother last year, was not just being infected with the virus, but transmitting it to their newborns.
The social distancing rules helped new mothers to cut contacts between their children and visitors or outsiders.
But work from home was the icing on the cake for many, including Grace Wanjiku, mother to a five-month-old boy.
“Being a new mum during this pandemic hasn’t been that easy, but I got to experience it in a positive way.
After Covid-19 hit our work places and new directive was issued for employees who could work from home to do so, I felt so much relief.
I had the fear of going back to work and being in contact with so many people, then going back home to a vulnerable baby.
With this directive, I got to reduce the risk of contracting the virus by just being indoors... I also had the opportunity to spend more time with my baby and avoided hiring a house help to look after him as I was at home, especially since I did not have to resume work as usual after my maternity leave,” intimates the new mum.
For bank accountant, Asha Cassidy, who is based in Mombasa, the pandemic has been a great eye opener for her, especially in matters pertaining her sexual life. She embraced celibacy.
“I vowed to be celibate in April last year. I got rid of all my situationships. I realised I have been doing it all wrong and decided to take a break from dating.
The lockdown made me see that I was getting into relationships with the right intention, but would not stand for myself —I would just go with the flow until a man acted or treated me right.
It never worked out well for me, so I decided to be celibate to bring me closer to God and remove sex out of the equation because I noticed apart from sex, I never really knew those people. I got honest with myself and that was it,” says the accountant.
Francis Amonde Started ‘Cup of Uji’ initiative in 2011. The programme helps in fighting hunger among less privileged primary school children in Kenya by providing one cup of porridge, in school each day.
Nine years later, a pandemic hit the country and more than ever, kindness was needed throughout the nation.
Through the ‘Cup of Uji’ initiative, Kenyans from all walks of life came through and together with the founder reached out to many families throughout the country. As he shares, it has been a testimonial year.
“I’ve learnt invaluable lessons, lessons that will shape me going forth into my future.
I’ve come to appreciate God more, treasure true friendship, diversify personal investments, appreciate good health, appreciate every support from individuals, organisations, volunteers and corporates such as Cigna, towards ‘Cup of Uji’.
I’ve come to appreciate the value of true love, family and me time. Above that, the generosity and kindness witnessed from Kenyans from all walks of life has been quite humbling,” he shares.