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LIZZIE’S WORLD: Time for a fresh start





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It takes me a while to adjust to the pristine, early-morning silence all around me. All I hear is the chirping of birds and the lapping of the lake’s waves against the water and the couple of boats that are banging up against the makeshift pier a few metres away from us.

In contrast, the noise in my head is the equivalent of six marching bands, a rock star and his entourage, a kindergarten full of rowdy tots and bleating goat thrown in for good measure. It’s all I can do not to throw up continuously as Jo and Mariam cook bacon and eggs over the camping gas stove they brought while I sit in a chair next to them, rubbing my temples with my hands and feeling sorrier for myself than a broke dude at an empty ATM.

“Hehe,” Jo chuckles as she glances my way. “So now that you were the ninja who decided to polish off two bottles of wine on her own, how are you feeling today?” She and Mariam start laughing and high-fiving each other.

“And you know how much I needed that wine yesterday and I could have used some myself – but lo! Madam here decided she was the only one who would enjoy herself,” Mariam quips.

“Good morning!” Fatma emerges from the other tent, looking fresh as a daisy in her jeans and khaki travel jacket, face done up to look ‘natural’ even though any woman worth her salt will tell you she is wearing a ton of make-up. “And how are we all today?”

“Apart from that one over there?” Mariam cocks an eyebrow in my direction as she handles a couple of fried eggs off the pan and onto a plate which she gives to Fatma. “The rest of us are just fine and refreshed!” Everyone laughs. Fatma high-fives Mariam – and that there is enough to take my mind off my royal hangover for a few seconds as I frown in their direction.

“When did you two feuding sisters become such good friends?” I ask.

“Who, me and Mariam?” Fatma feigns innocence. “Darling I don’t know how much you remember about last night but Mariam and I were never enemies,” she grins.

“Eh?” I frown. It dawns on me that I do not have much memory of last night, either – at least not from the point at which Jo asked me to explain my issues.

“You don’t remember, do you?!” Fatma exclaims as they all fall about laughing.


“Would you like some breakfast?” Mariam asks, thrusting a plate of chicken ovaries and crispy pig my way. The aroma hits my nose and I immediately fast-pedal my way over to the loo again where, once again, I evacuate the contents of my stomach via my mouth and eventually emerge from the cubicle hoping I don’t look as messy as I feel.

Fatma, Jo and Mariam, all now sitting in a semi-circle in their camping chairs and happily munching on their breakfast, pause to stare at me – Jo even leaves her fork suspended halfway between her mouth and her plate as she stares at me in wonder.

“I have never seen you like this though,” she finally gasps. “Oh my goodness, you look like a warmed-over zombie!” They all start laughing again as I take my seat gingerly.

“Those eyes are pure, unadulterated bloodshot,” Mariam guffaws.

“Ha. Ha. Ha,” I say drily. “One day all of you people will be in my shoes and I will laugh and point fingers and I will not ease up,” I say to them. “So exactly what happened last night?”

“Well, besides you telling us about Chris breaking up with you and all your drama with Frank the Factory Guy?” Jo says those last two words as if they are proper nouns. “You also ran over to the large group of guys camping next door and mooned them with your behind because they were making so much noise.”

“WHAT?!” I yelp and stand up, mortified, while the girls roll around in fits of laughter.

“I’m joking,” Jo says as she wipes tears from her eyes. “You just got really candid about your life,” she says gently.

“Yea, I am so sorry I was so hard on you,” Mariam says as she leans over in my direction and gives my knee an affectionate pat.

“Heh, we even hugged out all the tension amongst us,” Fatma adds. “I don’t know if I have ever told you girls this, but I love you all so, so much. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you lot to support me.”

“Aww,” Mariam gushes, standing up to reach her arms out, and I watch with eyes wide open as Fatma steps into them and is enveloped in Mariam’s warm bosom.

“Someone tell me exactly what happened last night!” I say loudly. And then I sit back and wait for the resolution.


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




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.


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




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




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.


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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