The coming of Covid-19 has affected virtually everything. It has changed how people relate and carry out businesses.
Millions of people are jobless after businesses resorted to firing people as a way of cutting down on costs. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have also shut down leaving people with no means of income.
The majority of the people who have felt the heat of Covid-19 are from Nairobi and Mombasa. The government put a cessation of movement order that has been in place for more than one month.
The government also ordered nationwide dusk to dawn curfew that has seen all Kenyans required to be in their houses as early as 7 pm and only allowed to venture outside at 5 am.
When it became clear that Covid-19 was finally in the country and people needed to work from home, the majority of the people from the city moved en masse to their villages.
The movement was occasioned by the fact that many no longer had jobs and did not want to remain in the city worrying about paying the rent with no source of income.
As people moved, streets in Nairobi became less occupied and only a few people could be seen moving quietly here and there. (Currently, the streets have started being full).
Normal Life In The Villages
As people in Nairobi continue to live a life of worry about Covid-19 and what tomorrow holds, life in most rural areas in Kenya has remained normal.
In most rural areas, businesses have been going on during the day, as usual, people have been moving around without face masks on and breathing the fresh air from the village.
In fact, it is very difficult to convince someone who has been in the village all along that there is Covid-19 and that life is disrupted in places such as Nairobi and Mombasa.
The Spike In Chicken Prices
Although by moving into the rural areas, people from the city risked spreading the deadly Covid-19, it also came as a blessing in disguise.
Farmers have been smiling for the last three months as sales for their farm produce increased spontaneously.
In Bungoma County, for instance, chicken farmers say the price for “kuku kienyeji” shot through the roof as soon as “people from Nairobi” started arriving.
The price of a hen shot from between 600 and 750 shillings to between 1,000 and 1,200 shillings. The price of a cock rose from 900 and 1,200 shillings to 1,500 shillings on average.
“I have sold 210 chicken ever since Covid-19 started. All my flock is currently sold out and just raising up new stock. The demand was higher than we imagined,” said Wafula Sinino, a chicken farmer at Misikhu.
Some of those who moved into the villages from the big city decided to try their hand in farming by rearing chicken. This also drove the price of chicks up in most places.
In Uasin Gishu and Kakamega, for instance, the price of a one-day-old chick is retailing between 30 and 40 shillings from the normal 15 to shillings. The price of a one-week-old chick is up to 150 shillings from between 80 and 100 shillings.
Opening Up The Economy
With President Uhuru Kenyatta expected to make a “major announcement” on June 6, 2020, in an effort to “open up the economy”, many city dwellers in the village might not have something to come back for.
Millions have lost their jobs. Businesses have shut down and it is not automatic that they will pick up as soon as the opening announcement is made. Is rural life the only option at the moment?