COVID-19 Impact – the Story of Keziah

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the socio-economic and health dimensions of many societies around the world. It is no different for residents of Kariobangi where direct and indirect negative impacts of the pandemic and the resulting government policies have had devastating consequences on livelihoods.

Last week we spoke to Hands of Love parents to find out how they are doing and how the pandemic has impacted them. We will be sharing their stories over the coming days. Today we share the story of Keziah Nyambura, a single mum whose five years old daughter is in our pre-primary one class.

Kezia works as a hairdresser at Kariobangi market. She says that before the pandemic she would make 500 shillings (about 5 dollars) a day. “This money I would use to pay rent, buy food, support my daughter and sometimes send something home for my elderly mother’s upkeep. Things have drastically changed since the onset of the pandemic. For two months the market was closed down and with it my only source of income.” She says. 

“I have big plans to change my life and that of my daughter, but Corona has disrupted everything for the moment. Right now we are just focused on surviving and making it through these tough times. I have gone back to working at the market but things are tough. I am lucky if I take home 300 shillings these days.” Kezia says almost speaking to herself. She explained that most of the customers who frequented the shop she works at live outside Kariobangi and a big proportion of them are afraid to come to the market for fears of Covid-19 infection. To make matters worse she says that because schools are closed they do not get girls of school going age coming to have their hair done on weekends and this used to be a big part of their customers.

“I know things will get better. I can’t give up. I wanted to move to a better house this year. Right now I live in a one room house with my daughter and we have to share the toilets with many people. I wanted to move to a bedsitter (a one room house with a bathroom inside).” There is interruption in our telephone conversation as she shouts instructions to someone on the other end. “Things will be okay” she continues. “As long as there is hope there is a chance.”