The chilly mornings in the countryside inspire thoughtful reflections on eventual retirement

If it doesn’t presently hog your mind, the thought of retirement is a pensive moment for a lot of people. What is it like to have no work deadlines, board meetings and back-to-back meetings every morning? How does it feel to know one is living the last third of one’s life?

In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, working from the village has been an inspiring period. The countryside is full of energy, for the conscious one. Open your eyes, soak it in.

They say, to know an area you have to study the natives.

In my case, I had a perfect study subject, my elderly father – now gracefully retired and approaching his sunset. Perhaps, that’s why he has a thing for sprightly, early mornings and lazy sunsets.

From the wide veranda below the grass eaves of his Thingira, Papa watches the sun rise. The compound is wide, and green with dewy grass. Icy cold droplets of dew catch the early rays of the sun, and reflect it in a glassy show of purity. The lone Ayrshire cow, off leash, grazes silently along the Kei Apple fence.

He sits alone, pensive, in his aged lawn chair. On the first days of the lockdown, I’d wake up early and join him. I’d quickly learn it’s not his favorite time for chit chat, and we’d sit silently staring over the beautiful valley – bespoke with rising plumes of early morning fires from the conical huts on the countryside.

The chilly mornings, we’d think. While I’d think of my colleagues, the antiseptic smell of stationery in the office and the incessant ruckus of hawkers and hooting cars, I’d wonder what the old man was thinking about.

I asked once.

Well, the new pandemic was troubling him. While Papa had lived through some of the most iconic moments in the country’s history, nothing had prepared him for this pandemic. Some were ecstatic, happy moments – like November 17th, 2006 when the Maasai Mara Game Reserve was declared one of the Seventh Wonders of the World.

For a retired game warden, it was a good moment to be alive.

On the political front, August 27th 2010 had dawned with his beloved country checking in a new constitution.

The old man was pensive, for most of his family lived in the city, and am the only one who had managed to leave the city before the lockdown. He didn’t seem pacified when I mentioned his granddaughter and son in the city would be alright, as they’d certainly follow government directives.

My kids were college students in the city, and lived together in a rented flat. I’d speak to them often, and had asked them not to worry the old man with details of the lockdown.

One chilly morning, as the orange orb of light oozed its rays over the valley, Papa had demanded to know how I knew his grandkids were okay.

I slowly explained that banking had come full circle, since then. It was slow, but it helped that he was a Co-op Bank member too, channeling tea and coffee payments through his account there.

In that chilly morning, with the Ayrshire cow grazing only a few feet away, I had taught him about MCo-op Cash App – and how that seamlessly allowed me to pay bills for my kids directly.

“What bills?” He’d demanded.

“All of them. Rent, KPLC bills, DSTV bills, water bills….” I’d told him.

Naturally, he wanted to help. He still had tea bonuses in his Co-op Bank account.

I showed him how MCo-op Cash App allowed me to check account balances, withdraw funds, get account statements and even apply loans. There is also the MCo-op Cash Paybill number 400200 that allows direct deposits to a Coop Bank account.

Papa didn’t have a ‘city phone’ as he refers to smart phones. However, his phone can still handle Co-op Bank’s USSD number *667#, for a similar banking menu, but…..

“Get the rope, she’s about to get a calf!” He shouts, pointing at the cow.

Visit the nearest Co-op Bank branch or click here, to learn about Mobile banking (M-Coop Cash) and its ingenious ways that eases up banking.