The fear of the invisible coronavirus seems to be flowing and ebbing away on the ground; it appears as if the tsunami people were waiting for, receded and faded quietly, albeit in their minds.
The talk and feel in Nakuru County is that of a disease which has already passed over their area, and they are loudly wandering, why they should not be allowed to continue with their normal lives.
Being a farming county which depends on the Nairobi market, people are miffed that transporting their produce has become a nightmare.
Peter Kimani, a cabbage farmer, says it bothers him that his produce was rotting in the farm and the few middlemen who knock at his gate offer to buy at a through-away price, claiming that they are spending a lot of money bribing police officers as they transport their goods to markets at the city.
Others’ allege that cabbages were no longer in demand, since other vegetables, particularly the traditional ones including managu and saggeti were now in plenty due to the heavy rainfall countrywide.
A poultry farmer, Callen Kemunto, claims her life has been interfered with by a disease she doesn’t understand nor comprehend, since her five hundred broilers are now mature but no market to take.
“Broilers feed my family and pay my bills, how will l manage to pay school fees for my children?’’ she laments.
Julius Kimalit, a dairy farmer, claims the demand for the milk has dwindled since the rains have increased production. And since he cannot afford to continue buying feeds, he has decided to cull his animals by selling them to butchers.
In an interview with several farmers by KNA, one common concern in their minds was, what is this virus? despite the daily briefings on the rising numbers of infections, the knowledge of the disease on the ground seems to be wanting.
Jane Njeri, a teacher, said notwithstanding her education, she really doesn’t have enough understanding of the virus to enable her explain to the neighbours’ or her social media networks’ who appear also as confused as her.
“Maybe it would be important for the government to dedicate some free call-in programs on radio and television to enable people to ask questions and express their concerns, she observed.
She wonders as to why can’t scientists manage a virus which is killed by soap and water? Njeri feels more needs to be done to sensitize the public. She added that many people were living under confusion and fretfulness because their normal lives and earnings has become horrendous.
The recent case of a thirteen-year-old boy from Kimunya village, in Solai, who tested positive after a long stay in Hospital, has also stunned the resident of Nakuru. The area Chief, Peter Chege, said it was shocking that a child from a remote hamlet has contracted the disease.
He said the health officials went to the village and quarantined the six family members in their home. But the villagers wondered why so instead of being taken away to the quarantine centres.
The residents were further dumbfounded when, the Dr. John Mburu, of Nakuru Level Five Hospital, described the results of the medical tests on that could be a false positive and more tastes were being carried out to confirm the case.
“The people are asking what a false positive is. What is asymptomatic? And how come the boy was admitted for tuberculosis but after a month it turned to something else? The Chief added.
The Chairman of Hawkers in Nakuru town, Johnson Ndegwa, said the people who are leading the pandemic from the front, have not appreciated that business was like a bicycle, which requires the movement of its wheels continuously, otherwise, the passenger falls off or if it’s parked for too long the chains rust.
“My wish is that the counties with no cases reported so far be allowed to operate normally and even if it means locking their borders,’’ he stated.
A few of the children we interviewed seem to have a misconception that the disease is for older people and their immediate concern is when the school will be reopened.
They lament that the days were too long and boring without them attending school. Some of them claimed that they will not want to close school again once they are opened and learning resume.
There’s a need for improved communication to the public on what the disease is in order to guard against misleading information. Those mandated to sensitize people should be experts in the field of health so that it is not handled as though it is a political gimmick or propaganda.
By Veronica Bosibori