How pandemic turned Kenyans' lives upside down in 2020 - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 26 December 2020

How pandemic turned Kenyans' lives upside down in 2020

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Kenyans to change their ways and their mindsets in 2020.

The pandemic forced changes in long-standing traditions and social norms, like warm greetings, shaking hands, bumping fists, socialising, worshipping together, mourning together, shouting at political rallies.

Necessary social distancing - physical distancing is a better term - to curb the virus from spreading has meant people must think first about their own safety and that of others.

Wearing masks, washing and sanitising hands, staying indoors and avoiding crowds are alien but necessary concepts.

People used to working found themselves jobless. Those who were jobless or underemployed found new ways to earn money.

People used to going out were forced to stay indoors.

The pandemic really threw a spanner in the works of politicians hell-bent on promoting themselves and BBI.

People who fell ill and recovered commented they were forced to think about the meaning of life and realised thee only thing that really mattered was family and human relationships. Covid was the great leveller amongst rich and poor.

The pandemic brushed the world the wrong way, killing and leaving souls hurting.

When the first case was announced in March, some people were sure the disease would be swiftly contained. Some lost hope in a cure - there is no cure, only treatment. Now some vaccines have been approved.

Still, some Kenyans have benefited from new ways of thinking, reflecting, learning online, being by themselves.

Marketer Doris Ahenda said that before the pandemic, she couldn't stay indoors, come rain come shine.

“No weekend found me indoors. If I was not attending a baby shower somewhere, I was out getting stock orders for my clients or visiting my friends or attending conferences,” she said.

“But now we have to deal with the new normal. Staying indoors is now my way of thinking and I'm learning new things on social media.

Ahenda says when she has finished working remotely for her office, she learns many skills online.

 

“But now we have to deal with the new normal .Staying indoors is now my thing and learning new things on social media”
Stay-at-home marketer Doris Ahenda

“On YouTube you can learn a few things here and there. Like tutorials on plaiting hair, crocheting, box braiding and retouching dreadlocks,” she said.

Doris has also learned how to create posters in a YouTube tutorial.

“I would say  the virus impacted me positively. I can now plait others' hair, make posters and even charge for my services,” she added.

Ahenda said as long as you take advantage of a situation, you don't need to despair.

These are a few things Kenyans have had to change:

MOURNING

Ever since Covid-19 reached Kenya on March 13, mourning for many communities in western Kenya, particularly the Luo community, was turned on its head.

Communal affairs that used to run for days or even weeks were reduced to brief, 15-person events. The same applied to weddings, worship and other gatherings in the new spirit of social distancing.

 

With the new rules in place, we were reduced to mourning our patriarch through grainy photos and amateur online videos that were taken on mobile phones.

Grandpa was swiftly laid to rest and we hoped he would have the peace he so desired.

COURTS

Covid-19 has forced justice to go digital with magistrates and judges  using video links. Sessions are also held outdoors where there's less risk of transmission.

One beneficiary is a man accused of stealing a Bible from a supermarket.

Following proceedings via a TV screen while in police custody, he was relieved to hear that he will now continue his case as a free person after the judge ordered his release on free bond.

It's part of new government efforts to tackle Covid-19 by decongesting prisons, which has already resulted in the release of 4,800 petty offenders. Prisons were, and still are dangerously overcrowded, petri dishes for the coronavirus.

Chief Justice David Maraga launched e-filing in which Nairobi courts go digital.

TheGitongas held their wedding reception at home with only 12 people present.

Under the new electronic system, all lawyers, police, DPP officers and members of the public are required to register themselves through a portal to log into the Judiciary system.

The portal is on https://efiling.court.go.ke.

WORKING FROM HOME

Many precautions were put in place by the government - travel restrictions, curfew, partial lockdowns, Virus hot spots were sealed off, travel in and out prevented.

Many businesses closed, some people were laid off while others decided to quit over tough working conditions and pay cuts.

But the resolve of companies and their resilience did not go down the drain as employers looked for ways to ensure that businesses went on.

This meant working from home, a practice not much adopted before Covid-19, but now it's common - among people lucky enough to still have jobs.

 

Many hope to make it a permanent part of their work life.

Our culture's dramatic shift to working from home is the true breakout business story from this pandemic. 

The increased potential for remote work holds promise because you are positioned to live the lifestyle you want while cutting out a variety of office and commuting costs.

However, not all jobs can be done from home and some people must still go to the office to ensure they serve their clients and customers.

Data shared by European mobility platform Bolt, which operates in 35 countries, indicates most of their employees, except drivers, refer to work from home. They occasionally visit the office.

The survey of 1,000 Bolt employees at the beginning of June indicated  almost 80 per cent would like to work from home at least half of the time or more.

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