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How Kenyans are turning to Pineapple’s peels to make alcohol

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They say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and it seems Kenyans have whole heartedly embraced the saying and taken it to heart.A section of Kenyans are now boiling pineapples peels to make alcohol.The demand for pineapple peels is so high now that a few vegetable traders with an entrepreneurial mindset are reported to have even started selling them instead of throwing them away as was the norm before.

They say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and it seems Kenyans have whole heartedly embraced the saying and taken it to heart.

It’s a fact that Kenyans love drinking and as a result Kenya is a drinking nation.

According to beer manufacturer Diageo, Kenya is among five African countries that consumes large quantities of Guinness and as such features high on the Guinness world beer consumption rankings.


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A group of men in Western Kenya sharing a traditional alcoholic drink locally known as Busaa. (Face2Face Africa)

However, as much as Kenyans love to down their brown bottles and spirits, not all of them can afford to buy alcohol especially in these tough economic times.

Since 1st September when the 16 per cent levy on petroleum product came into effect, there has been a countrywide uproar, with Kenyan commuters especially feeling the pitch after the public transport sector decided to unitarily increase fares by as much as 40 per cent.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week rejected the Finance Bill 2018 which among other things had proposed the total scrapping of the 16% Value Added Tax (V.A.T) on petroleum products, proposing instead to slashing it by half to 8% which is still steep.


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President Uhuru Kenyatta raising a toast. (the star)

Parliament is yet to deliberate on the matter and for now Kenyans are effectively condemned to a high cost of living.

So what happens when one wants to drown their sorrows and they can’t afford alcohol? They improvised and put their High School Chemistry skills to use.

That is exactly what a section of Kenyans have been doing  in recent days and in the true definition of entrepreneurship have turned what was until now a ‘useless waste product’ into a key ingredient in the making of a potent alcohol which is quickly gaining fame.


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A section of Kenyans are now boiling pineapples peels to make alcohol. (Facebook)

A section of Kenyans are using pineapples peels to make alcohol.

After first getting wind of the story on Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page, one of the most popular Facebook groups in Kenya with more than one million members and currently the only known group advocating for the boychild, Business Insider SSA (BISSA) decided to go on a fact finding mission to get to the bottom of the matter.

It is not yet clear how the pineapple peels alcoholic drink was invented and whether it was by accident or through the work of a genius, but after one member posted the ‘invention’ on the group, within minutes thousands of comments started trickling in with some members  confirming its authenticity and potency while others promised to immediately try out the new drink.


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A Facebook post on Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page about the Pineapple alcoholic drink. (Facebook)

Since then one member after another has been posting their experiences about ‘the new drink in town’ on the page with all being positive.

“It is true I have actually tasted the drink and I can confirm it has alcoholic properties, its tastes more like Mnazi (palm wine) or Muratina (local fermented honey beer),”  Pamellah Oduor, an entrepreneur and Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals group admin and founder tells BISSA.


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Pamellah Odour, an entrepreneur and Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals group admin is all similes with a Chinese trader while she was in China. (Courtesy)

After discovering the ‘drink’, Pamellah, who recently came back from China, went home and prepared the peels herself much to her joy – here is how to prepare the ‘new drink in town’.

“So to make the drink, the first thing you do is buy pineapples and wash them thoroughly before you start peeling. After that, you take the peels and put them in a Sufuria (cooking pot) and mix them with water and sugar and then boil the contents. When it is still lukewarm, you add yeast, seal it and then store it for a minimum of 24 hours,”  says Pamellah.

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The pineapple peels alcoholic drink after being boiled and sieved. (courtesy)

Pamellah adds that there are several ways of enjoying the drink.

“It’s nice and for those who find it too harsh, you can use it for other fruit juices to make cocktails.”


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The Pineapple alcoholic drink ready to be served. (Facebook)

Don’t be too quick to dismiss the ‘invention’ as nothing more than the work of idle Kenyans. The invention actually holds water and the drink is real as BISSA found out after speaking to Paul Kimani, a Chemistry graduate from Jomo Kenyatta University.

“Yes, pineapple peels can be turned into alcohol. After all, some alcoholic drinks are actually made from fermented fruits. Pineapple peels have sugar that is what is normally broken down into alcohol, mostly ethanol. I think by boiling it they want to break it down further into simple sugars so that when they add yeast, the conversion to alcohol is quicker,” Kimani tells BISSA.


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The alcoholic drink is made from pineapple peels. (courtesy)

As to how potent the drink is Kimani, who recently cleared his Masters in Analytical Chemistry,  says the final solution is more of a wine than a whiskey or hard spirit.

“The final solution is indeed alcoholic but not so potent. You will end up making something more like wine than whiskey because the yeast is made of Zymase and it’s a living organism so it can’t produce a lot of alcohol content more than I think 12%. In my estimation, the pineapple leaves can produce alcohol content of between 4% – 12% depending on how long you let them stay.”


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A positive review post about the drink on Let’s Cook Kenyan Meals Facebook page. (Facebook)

Kenyans have a knack for coming up with inventions to survive whenever life pushes them to the edge.

Early this year after the government imposed a charcoal ban effectively pushing up the cost of living, many Kenyans transformed their simple thermos flasks from storing tea and beverages into a daily cooking utensil as they moved to save time, cost and energy.

They began cooking foodstuff such as Githeri (mixture of maize and beans) to chicken wings using thermos flasks.


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A user shares his thermos cooking experience on Facebook (Face book)

The equation goes something like this: boil water + add dried ingredients in thermos x a few hours = hot and healthy meal.

The new ‘invention is just another testament of their ingenious spirit.


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The Pineapple alcoholic drink can be enjoyed as cocktail too. (Courtesy)

The demand for pineapple peels is now so high that the streets of Nairobi and estates’ dumpsites are virtually minus the peels.

A few vegetable traders with an entrepreneurial mindset are reported to have even started selling the peels instead of throwing them away as was the norm before.


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A pineapple vegetable vendor in Nairobi,Kenya. (Facebook)

With life expected to be even harder as days goes by one thing is for certain, more and more Kenyans will soon discard their pricey drinks for the cheaper ‘pineapple peels alcoholic drink’ and turn their houses into little distilleries.

Expect to be served with the ‘new drink in town’ should you pay Kenya a visit any time soon.

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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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