Co-op Bank Group is pleased to report a Profit Before Tax of Kshs. 22.7 Billion for the third quarter of 2022.

That’s a commendable 38% growth compared to Kshs. 16.5 Billion recorded in the third quarter of 2021.

This means, Co-op Bank has a strong Profit after Tax of Kshs. 17.1 Billion compared to Kshs. 11.6 Billion reported in 2021. The performance delivers a competitive Return on Equity of 23% to our shareholders.

The strong performance by the Bank is in line with the Group’s strategic focus on sustainable growth, resilience, and agility.

Support to the Fundraising Appeal to Fight Hunger

Co-op Bank Group wishes to join other Kenyans and indeed the global community of goodwill in fully supporting the Fundraising Appeal initiated by His Excellency the President, with a key contribution of Kshs.150 Million.

This is in support of relief efforts aimed at assisting families affected by the severe drought ravaging various parts of the Country.

Key Performance highlights;
1. Financial Position:

The Group has registered sustained growth as follows;

  • Total Assets grew to Kshs. 622.1 Billion, a 5% growth from Kshs 592.9 Billion in the same period last year.
  • Net loans and advances grew to Kshs. 335.2 Billion, a 9.4% growth from Kshs.306.3 Billion in 2021.
  • Customer deposits grew to Kshs 432.0 Billion, a 3% increase from Kshs.420.4 Billion.
  • External funds from development partners stands at Kshs 41.9 Billion from Kshs.43.8 Billion in 2021.
  • Shareholders’ funds have grown to Kshs. 100.9 Billion, a 6.2% increase from Kshs. 95.0 Billion in 2021.

2. Comprehensive Income

This is a 3-pronged approach:

  • Total operating income grew by 17.6% from Kshs 44.4 Billion to Kshs 52.2 Billion.
    Total non-interest income grew by 28.3% from Kshs 15.7 Billion to Kshs 20.2 Billion.
  • Net interest income grew by 11.7% from Kshs 28.7 Billion to Kshs 32.00 Billion.
  • Total operating expenses increased by 6% from Kshs 28.0 Billion to Kshs. 29.6 Billion.

3. Cost Management

Excellent gains from our various initiatives with a Cost to Income ratio of 45.8% in Q32022 from 59% in FY2014 when we began our Growth & Efficiency journey.

4. Credit Management

This remains a key focus area that has achieved key milestones. The Group prudentially provided Kshs. 5.7 Billion compared to Kshs 6.0 billion provided in 2021, pointing to an improvement in the quality of the asset book.

5. A Strong Digital Footprint

Through our digital channel strategy, the Bank has successfully moved 94% of all customer transactions to alternative delivery channels, a 24-hour contact centre, mobile banking, 550 ATMs, internet banking and a wide network of Co-op kwa Jirani agents.

We have successfully migrated our customers to the Omni-channel, integrating accessibility and user experience.

Our omnichannel interfaces online banking through personal computers, mobile phones and USSD availing our services to all customers through their preferred channel yet retain the same experience from wherever they are.

6. Subsidiaries

A great part of the success story arises from subsidiaries across the region:

  • Co-op Consultancy & Bancassurance Intermediary Ltd posted a Profit Before Tax of Kshs 772 Million in Q32022, riding on strong penetration of Bancassurance business.
  • Co-operative Bank of South Sudan that is a unique joint venture (JV) partnership with Government of South Sudan (Co-op Bank 51% and GOSS 49%) returned a profit of Kshs 190 Million in Q32022 compared to a loss of Kshs.104 million in Q32021.
  • Co-op Trust Investment Services contributed Kshs. 141 Million in Profit Before Tax in Q32022, with Funds Under Management of Kshs. 202.6 Billion compared to Kshs.187.1 Billion in September 2021.
  • Kingdom Bank Limited (A Niche MSME Bank) has contributed a Profit before Tax of Kshs.609.2 Million in Q32022 compared to Kshs. 413.1 Million reported last year representing a 47% Growth year-on-year.
    Environmental Social and Governance (ESG).

The Group was named Overall Winner at the Kenya Bankers Association Catalyst Awards held in September 2022.

The awards recognize organizations that exemplify their sustainability prowess though promoting catalytic finance that impacts industry, economy and society.

This latest win is the third in five years, having won in 2017 and 2019, ranking Co-op Bank as Industry Leader in Sustainable Finance in Kenya.

Co-op Bank Foundation, the Group’s social investment vehicle, continues to provide Scholarships to gifted but needy students from all regions of Kenya. The sponsorship includes fully paid secondary education, full fees for University education, Internships and career openings for beneficiaries.

The foundation is fully funded by the bank and has supported 9553 students since the inception of the program.

7. Accolades

The Group Managing Director & CEO Dr. Gideon Muriuki was honoured with the award of a third Doctorate degree by the Africa International University in November 2022.

The Citation for the degree award noted his illustrious career in banking, his historic turnaround of Co-op Bank, his destiny-defining contribution to the co-operative movement and an enduring commitment to sustainable finance in Africa.

Trade Finance refers to an external source of working capital finance. It is a form of short-term credit typically used by companies that export or import goods.

It’s usually secured against goods, or backed by an insurance policy.

In Kenya, Co-operative Bank has demystified trade finance for their business customers, by availing various instruments.

These instruments are:

  • Bid Bonds
  • Letters of Credit
  • Performance Bonds
  • Custom Bonds
  • Advance Payment Guarantees
  • Credit Guarantees

What business solutions does Co-op Bank offer?

  • LPO Financing
  • Bills Discounting
  • Invoice Discounting
  • Post Import Finance/Import Duty Finance
  • Supply Chain Finance/Distributor Finance

What benefits does Co-op Bank clients enjoy

  • Quick processing time
  • Manage risk and negotiate credit terms
  • Flexible repayment period
  • Secure work permits for foreigners working for your business
  • Unsecured Trade Facilities

What Requirements are needed to secure Trade Finance with Co-op Bank?

  • Duly filled application form
  • Tender advert (where applicable)
  • Copies of the Company Directors’ IDs and KRA PIN Certificates
  • Company’s KRA PIN Certificate, Tax Compliance Certificate, Articles of Association and MOU, and Certificate by Registrar of Companies (CR12).
  • Latest bank statements (minimum 12 months) for other Bank Accounts held by the company and related companies.

There are alot of opportunities up for grabs. This facility is available to customers, at all Co-op Bank branches countrywide. Visit to talk to an agent, or check online to learn more.

What’s your opinion on the perfect job?

While people desire and actively chase different jobs it’s all grounded on the premise of stability and financial goals.

How do you explain a scenario where a well paid employee in a stable career suddenly quits to found a start up? It’s crazy.

Take the case of Nduta, now in her mid-30’s.

She’s married, with two kids in primary school. She’s spent a decade, climbing up the ladder in the human resources department of a middle-tier firm.

The job pays well – the family lives in the suburbs, good schools, drives a decent sedan and an annual vacation.

It’s an easy job. What makes it easy is that she walks out of the office exactly at 4pm. She works Monday to Friday, accumulates leave days.

She doesn’t get work emails and texts over weekends, or asked to attend any Zoom meetings. She can call in sick, if need raises – which is often for a young parent.

Nduta is content and happy at her workplace. But, suddenly, an uncontrollable itch bites.

She wants to brand herself differently. There’s more to life than just a 8 to 5, right? She starts to believe, inspired by her earlier challenges to refurbish and decorate her house. She had imported all her materials.

Could I not bridge the gap, with the importation of cutlery and interior decor fittings?
Nduta does some basic internet search on requirements, then quietly registers a firm.

Then, she quits her job.

Her husband thought she was bat crazy. How could you? It didn’t help much that she had little to support her business idea, well – other than a ‘gut feeling’.

To her, it felt much getting a new baby. In every aspect, it was exactly like having a baby. She gave alot of hours, weekends, late night calls and texting….

It took alot to get the new business going. Sometimes, she’d even forget her children’s birthdays!

There were lots of dry spells, zero business.

Nduta would use these spells to invest in herself. She started attending business forums and building networks. She learnt the skills and tricks of trade.

It’s in a trade forum, Nduta gained the solution for her major headache – CAPITAL. She learned about trade finance.

Now, she’s in a position to handle large orders, and has gainfully started seeking big tenders with county governments.

Trade Finance refers to an external source of working capital finance. It is a form of short-term credit typically used by companies that export or import goods. It’s usually secured against goods, or backed by an insurance policy.

In Kenya, Co-operative Bank has demystified trade finance for their business customers, by availing various instruments.

These instruments are:

  • Bid Bonds
  • Letters of Credit
  • Performance Bonds
  • Custom Bonds
  • Advance Payment Guarantees
  • Credit Guarantees

In this regard, Co-op Bank has made local and international business flow easier, by offering crucial business solutions.

These include:

  • LPO Financing
  • Bills Discounting
  • Invoice Discounting
  • Post Import Finance/Import Duty Finance
  • Supply Chain Finance/Distributor Finance

Well, trade finance business solutions is available to Co-op Bank customers at all branches countrywide.

Visit a Co-op Bank branch, or click here to learn the benefits and requirements needed to secure this funding for your business.

Gospel artist Cecil Wangoi’s early beginnings read like a preface to a misery novel.

She has fought incredible odds to command relative success and attention in the Kenyan gospel music industry. Already, Cecil has three hits on her belt.

Cecil Wangoi’s bubbly nature, focus and a girl-next-door personality portrays no hint of a difficult childhood. She hails from Kitale, a last born into a family of six.

The family would tragically lose both parents before she hit three years. It became a wretchedly unhappy household. Thanks to her elder siblings, she’d reach O-levels at Nyabomo Secondary School.

As a young adult, Cecil has humbly earned a living with a grocery business. To find peace and mental health, Cecil found solace in church, where her love for music was kindled.

At Impact Celebration Church, Cecil found mentorship and a stage to hone her vocal skills.

By sheer luck, Cecil bumped into an enthusiastic music connoisseur – Sean OntheBeat – Founder and Producer at Championz Muzic Group – a recording studio based in Kasarani, Nairobi.

The producer has mentored and supported Cecil to attain her musical dream. She’s amongst a plethora of needy artists fledgling their musical wings under the label.

Cecil joined the gospel industry, releasing her debut – a soulful worship track titled Milele.

She quickly followed it up with Natafuta, a supplicatory religious ode that rides on an easy, danceable afrobeat. Natafuta is Swahili for ‘I search’ – a peremptory expression of desire for physical, emotional and spiritual peace.

Cecil’s most iconic video, though, is her latest gem: Nakupenda.

Nakupenda is a testimony of sorts. The plot is built around gratitude, thanksgiving and a pledge of loyalty to her Maker.

On the creative angle, Cecil has undoubtedly grown as an artist, ostensibly shedding off a difficult past. She brings polished vocals, to blend with creative staccato beats – a piano outlay on guitar strokes.

Producer Sean OntheBeat’s real talent shines on the Nakupenda video. It’s beautifully shot, with ambient lighting, contrast shadows and seamless merging of scenes.

Cecil’s style and inspiration draws heavily from her role models: Rapper Moji Short Baba, and Songstress Everline Wanjiru, both established artists in the gospel industry.

The young, engaging artist goes by the name Cecil Wangoi on all her social media handles. Her music, is also available on digital platforms like Boomplay and Spotify.

Here’s the link to sample the mercurial hit by Cecil Wangoi – Nakupenda:

 

Co-operative Bank celebrates winning a prestigious award, recently being named Overall Winner at the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) 2022 Sustainable Finance Catalyst Awards.

The Awards were created to recognize institutions that practice sustainable finance which has a direct positive impact on the financial sector, the economy, the environment and the society at large.

Sustainable Finance Principles require financial institutions to balance their quest for financial returns with the economy’s future priorities and social-environmental concerns.

In addition to scooping the overall title, Co-op Bank also won in specific award categories that include being named as the Most Innovative Bank in Sustainable Finance and the Best Bank in Financing Commercial Clients.

Equity Bank emerged second overall and KWFT third. The selection exercise took three and half-months, with 43 entries submitted by 16 financial institutions.

This is the third time in five years that Co-op Bank has emerged victorious in the sustainable finance awards, having won the overall title again in 2017 and in 2019.

The latest award adds to other recent recognition Coop Bank has received for the strong credentials in Sustainable Finance and related sustainability practices.

The bank was named as Best Bank in Sustainable Finance in Kenya at the 2019 Energy Management Awards hosted by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and also named Overall Winner in Environmental Sustainability Report at the 2019 East African Financial Reporting (FiRe) Awards.

Businesses were appraised on whether they have covered the essential indicators which included the impact to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the growth of the business, job creation and support of minority groups including women and the youth.

In respect of the award, Co-op Bank has released a citation:

Co-op Bank emerged winner as a result of building a sustainability strategy that enables people, businesses and society to grow in a way that is sustainable in the long-term.

The awards showcase firms that demonstrate a progressive stance in integrating sustainability practices in their respective institutions.

Commenting on the recognition, the Group Managing Director & CEO Co-operative Bank, Dr. Gideon Muriuki;

“Sustainability is fully integrated in our business model that stands on the three pillars of Economic sustainability, Social sustainability and Environmental stewardship.”

“As a bank that is predominantly-owned by the 15 million-member Co-operative Movement, we are inclusive by design that has not only enabled us to deliver shared prosperity today, but also helped us build an awareness and prudence to avoid putting future generations in jeopardy.”

Co-op Bank awards in other categories include;

1. Most Innovative Bank
2. Best in Financing Commercial Clients
3. 1st Runners up – Best Sustainable Finance
4. 1st runners up – Best in Covid-19 Response
5. 2nd runners up – Best in MSME Financing.

Meanwhile, Co-op Bank has unveiled an ambitious 100% financing loan package for used cars.

When making the choice to purchase a particular car, the gear set up plays a huge role. The choice plays between a manual and automatic transmission.

Each choice has advantages driving it, but it largely depends on the buyer.

Automatic transmission do the engagement and dis-engagement of the clutch on its own. It selects the appropriate gear according to the driving conditions. The driver just has to select whether he has to go forward, reverse or park his car.

In a manual transmission car the driver has to engage and dis-engage the clutch on his own and has to select the gear according to the way he drives.

There are different forward gears rated for different speed. Most modern car have 5 forward gears and 1 reverse gear.

Most car brands in Kenya have either modes in each of their models. What, then, influences the choice between the manual and automatic versions for the buyers?

Presently, the automatic car has gained popularity. It presents lots of advantages – but, not necessarily better.

Automatics cars are comparably easier to drive, demands less driving experience. Moreso, in city scapes with frequent traffic jams, and in the hills – it’s not a walk in the park driving bumper to bumper on a slight incline.

Besides, automatics are extremely reliable with minimal maintenance – no clutch to fry or wear out with inconsistent shifting.

Manual cars build up a strong counter attack in analysis. Manual car driving is definitely more fun. There’s more of a “driver feel”.

You can control shifting better, presenting an ‘all-round feeling of control’ – which, incidentally – appeals to car fanatics and first time car owners.

Besides, the convenience factor comes into play. Manual cars can be started even with a dead battery, by a method referred to as jumpstarting.

Manual car drivers brag of a slightly better fuel economy, and with enthusiasts with access to engine tuning and mods – a better acceleration.

The latter argument (acceleration) depends with the model, though – and, nature of the build – a sports car presents better acceleration than a family van, for example.

Manual cars pale in popularity by the virtue of human skill and experience needed to perform well.

Like, city driving is an hassle. Unlike an automatic, the mental work that your mind does for understanding and deciding what gear to keep the car in to prevent stalling weighs on the driver.

Also, getting the best mileage on fuel economy is dependent on the driver’s experience.

Automatic cars absolves the driver of that headache, especially on long, tiring drives.

For what it’s worth, either transmission in a car doesn’t overly affects performance. This bears on the driver’s experience, and aptitude. It’s prudent to practice on both types of transmission before making a purchase.

The dream of owning a car is now so much easier, thanks to a financing deal on pre-owned cars unveiled by Co-operative Bank.

It’s quite simple – anyone with an income can walk into a second-hand car dealership and make a choice – then, source financing from Co-op Bank.

It’s a loan with a flexible repayment period between 60 and 96 months and targets pre-owned cars less than 8 years old.

It attracts only 13% interest, and the vehicle being purchased acts as the security.

Requirements include:

  • Applicant’s ID and KRA PIN Certificate
  • Letter of Introduction from the employer
  • Latest 3 months’ certified Pay slips
  • Latest 6 months’ bank statements (if you’re not banking with us)
  • Copies of employment contract, or letter of appointment
  • Motor Vehicle Sales Agreement/Proforma Invoice
  • Copy of Logbook/Import Documents/NTSA search records
  • Original valuation report from approved valuer in the Bank’s panel

Once you visit a Co-op Bank branch, you’ll get an application form – fill it and attach necessary documents.

Click here, to learn more about Co-op Bank pre-owned car financing loan. It’s time to fulfill that dream to own your car!

Let it be that time comes – as it always will – that you get to own a car. It’s a milestone of sorts, often achieved with great sacrifice and meticulous planning.

A bit of research gets you settled on a relatively used model, instead of a brand new one. It makes better financial sense.

In a sea of used-car options, it get mind boggling picking the right one. It doesn’t help that dealers and salesmen hover around a buyer like sharks angling for a kill.

It’s easy to be led into buying a rust bucket.

Once you identify a prospect, it’s prudent to seek the expertise of a certified mechanic for the particular brand, with enough experience for the test drive.

Here’s a tentative list of 10 vital boxes to tick in your car quest:

  • Registration Documents

First check if all the papers are cleared, and owner have all the papers. Insist on hard copies – not just virtual copies. A lot of times, the car may have financing terms attached, be sure to verify any loans are cleared.

  • Engine

Every car’s heart is the engine, so first start with the engine. Try to check it early morning while the engine is cold. At this time, any problems with starting are easy to spot.

How much time or trials does it take to start the engine, Then, turn off engine and restart again. Do it at least 4–5 times. If there’s a hard start, take note of a dying starter or battery.

  • Engine Noise

Is there a noticeable noise in the engine? Here’s a good reason to seek opinions of a experienced mechanic.

Take the engine to the extreme – like, press acceleration to the 3000–4000 RPM mark. Listen for engine noises, rattling or shaking. An engine with worn mountings easily shows.

  • Smoke

Check if engine emits a black or white smoke. White smoke – possibly due to turbo failure or other reasons as well, black smoke – engine repairing need.

In some cases, fuel sensor failures manifest in irregular smoke emissions. So check with the owner if engine is tuned well and all sensors are working perfectly.

  • Oil Leaking

An oil leak speaks lots about an engine. Perhaps, it’s been opened up, or replaced. Also, gaskets and oil seals may need replacement if oil leaks from any part of engine or inside the hood.

Does the engine show signs of a recent scrub? That could be a sign of hiding an oil leak.

  • Electrical Parts

It’s prudent to check every electrical component of the vehicle. Whether they are working, or needs replacement.

This includes: Headlights and indicators, seat belt warning sensors, windshield wipers, power windows, side and rear view mirror adjusters, sunroof mechanism, and so on.

  • Instrument Cluster

Turn on the key, check the instrument cluster for any warning lights. Probable warnings to look out for include: Battery sign (low or defective battery), Defective alternator, Engine oil sign, ABS (Anti lock breaking system), Airbag Sign, EPS (Electronic Power Steering), and so on.

It may require a computerized diagnosis done to resolve some of these pop ups.

  • Interiors

How is the interior? This is the easiest sign to show an abused car. An astute owner keeps a clean, well kept interior devoid of torn seats and linings.

Is the dashboard, seat fabrics, door liners, seat covers in good condition? Stained? Torn? That gives an overall care acumen of the previous owner.

  • Exteriors

Does the car show dents and scratches? Are their parts of the car that need paintwork? Is there a color difference on some body parts?

If there is, take note of undeclared accidents, and abuse. If the car has been overly exposed to weather elements, be mindful of costly paintwork a few weeks down the road.

While at it, examine headlights and tail lamps. In what condition are they, do they need replacement, cleaning or complete restoration to optimum condition? That means extra costs.

  • Tyres

Depending on type of car, and intended usage tyre condition is a vital area. Tyres should be in relatively good condition. Do they have noticeable treads? What’s the brand? Generally, generic brands means replacement a few weeks later on.

How are the rims, and their sizes? It depends – urban usage may do fine with smaller rim sizes, while offroad requires bigger sizes. If the car has alloy rims, be keen to spot possible cracks or bends.

You don’t want a situation that gets you purchasing costly alloy rims after you take ownership.

Purchasing a car is quite financially exhausting, and has been beyond reach for many people.

Previously, bank financing has been confined to brand new cars. Co-op Bank has unveiled an incredible financing package on Pre-Owned Cars.

The bank offers to fund you up to 100% for a pre-owned motor vehicle. It’s a low-interest loan, at 13% interest with a flexible repayment period of between 60 and 96 months.

What’s more? One doesn’t need to be a Co-op Bank client to access the pre-owned car financing facility.

As soon as you make your choice of model in a second-hand car dealership, walk into a Co-op Bank branch and speak to a representative.

Follow this link to learn more about Co-op Bank Pre-owned car financing terms.

While human beings are generally wired differently, Tony believes the Creator went a yard further on him. From childhood, his mother would often remark of him ‘being too grown up’ for his age. He was different.

Tony didn’t like playing estate soccer or hang out with his peers. He couldn’t find anyone in his circle who liked crossword and jigsaw puzzles enough to make a friend.

Despite growing in a relatively comfortable middle-class household, the urge to move out hit as soon as Tony did his high school papers. His mother flat out refused. He couldn’t explain why, but – to be honest – he didn’t know why.

To her chagrin, he moved out – to a tiny bedsitter on the outskirts of town.

The house was quite bare – his old mattress, a kerosene stove, two pots and a few bowls. He’d picked a few oranges off his mother’s fruit rack. As Tony sprawled on the mattress, chewing an orange – he realized it’s the freedom! He was an adult, finally!

Well, just a week in – it dawned on what adulting is all about.

See how people learn to swim, starting slow? Some exercise on dry land – breathing exercises – starting on the shallow end to polish skills till you can strike out on your own? Moving out is nothing like that.

It’s more like jumping in a pool without being able to swim, but you don’t know you can’t swim until you hit the water. You thought you had it all figured out (I mean, how hard can it be, right?), and before you know it, you’re waving your arms around not knowing what to do.

Tony needed stuff. Food to eat. Soap for laundry. Some oranges not from his mother’s fruit rack. While he’d never liked TV in his family home, he started missing the background noise. To walk back home was not an option. No, he couldn’t face the silent I-told-you-so’s in his mother’s eyes.

Tony walked to a car wash lot in the neighborhood, asked for the manager – and asked for work.

“Ah, alright. You start tomorrow…” Says the guy, sitting on a tall wicker chair.

The car wash was ran on an interesting business structure. Tony wouldn’t earn a salary, or wages – instead, he’d solely source for his clients. He’d work on their cars – and, he’d pay a modest Ksh100 to the manager for every car.

No one cared how much he charged per car. There were a few other guys hanging around.

Tony was new. He didn’t have any ready clients. That’s where his mother came in. He called her, broke the news and asked to clean her car. Trust maternal love, she drove across town – his son’s first client.

As she paid and tipped – perhaps, too heavily – Tony coaxed her to bring him her friends.

Tony was shoddy at first, but as he gained experience so did his client base grow. He built a reputation for his consistency, and honesty. Suddenly, he had too many clients to handle.

At this point, Tony had to learn something new: Polish his people skills – as the need to outsource labor arose.

As soon as the car wash opened, he’d approach a few friends – and coax them to accept some of his clients. He’d be getting a cut, acting as the car-wash agent. It worked. The idea flourished, money started flowing in.

He’d throw in client bait like wax polish and car interior scents at no extra cost to the client, on their 3rd visits.

It certainly felt good earning money. There’s such excitement buying new stuff! A few weeks back, Tony wouldn’t think of himself running a bank account. Now, he had an active personal and business account at Co-op Bank account.

For a budding entrepreneur, a Co-op Bank account works perfectly – thanks to MCo-op Cash, their innovative banking app. It’s much easier to deposit money direct to bank account, and to track daily spending.

Oh, checking account balances via the app is free!

MCo-op Cash brings convenience to transfer money from account to account or from bank account to a mobile money accounts. Besides, one enjoys access to other global money transfer solutions like Pesalink, Remitly and others.

To register dial *667# or download MCo-op Cash app on Playstore for Android, or Applestore for IOS.

My first business venture came around in campus, second year. It was nothing meticulous, or well thought-out. I just chanced upon a couple of seniors disposing stuff weeks to their final exams. It’s a regular comrade thing, to pass off campus ‘survival tools’.

Assorted comrade stuff was on sale, from weathered printers, dart boards, blenders to some quite ageless Pentium 4 computers.

I’d purchase a Smokie trolley – for a side hustle. The trolley was functional, and guaranteed to make campus stay easier with good weekly returns. Plus, I’d inherit business goodwill: a coveted spot at the hostels entrance.

I’d be at my spot every evening after classes, selling Smokies and Kachumbari. The Smokie business was, and is still great. The capital was quite low; just buy a fairly used trolley – at, say Ksh4,000.00. Besides, it didn’t attract other expenses like county permits, rent or utility bills.

Easy enough, right? Wrong! I didn’t last a week – selling Smokies!

I largely blame it on my background – I didn’t grow up around Smokies! I simply found them irresistible! As an investor, I’d often blur the line to become the client.

It’d depend on the day; campus traffic was heavier on Mondays and Tuesdays. On these days, I’d handle three or four dozens of Smokies, daily. The hostels are deserted over weekends.

Once I got the first batch roasted, I’d have one Smokie, to ‘kufungua biashara…

After a few minutes, I’d have another Smokie, to ‘kuskia kama ziko sawa…’

I’d prepare the hallowed kachumbari, the must-have accompaniment. No one, absolutely no one enjoys Smokies without kachumbari.

I’d have another Smokie, to ‘make sure kachumbari iko sawa…’.

In the first quarter of an hour of the business opening, the investor has consumed three Smokies – before the first client has made a purchase. Hey, they were irresistible. I first came face to face with a Smokie in my 20’s!

In the village, we ate leftover Ugali for breakfast – not Smokies, bacon or assorted meats!

Then, friends will either make or break your business. I learnt that business tip, the hard way.

A friend comes, he’d ask to have a Smokie to ‘kufungua biashara, nitakuwa customer wa daily’. In my naivety, I’d fall for the lie. I suddenly had lots of friends! I was popular!

In my first week, I made little from my Smokies gig. The profit was negative, at an almost 100% loss rate. I had to call long-suffering mother to boost my capital. I couldn’t admit it, but I had literally eaten my stock! I loved Smokies! Before you judge, who doesn’t?!

Luckily, the novelty with Smokies had started to wear off into my second week of campus business. It’s like working in a bakery, the smell of bread is revolting. Or, working as a butcher – meat no longer calls the shots.

I started getting weary of Smokies. The smell turned repugnant and the sight revolting.

Unbelievably, that’s when the Smokie business turned around.

As an investor, I was my own worst enemy. I started recording good daily sales and building a solid reputation with clients. Gradually, I’d start a network – adding a series of trolleys and recruiting staff.

Towards my third year in campus I had become a business don, running a miniature Smokie empire! I’d hire a fleet of trolleys to freshers, make supplies and make rounds in the evening making collections.

I opened a Co-op Bank account at a local branch. I wanted more flexibility, so I downloaded MCo-op Cash app from Playstore. I had banking services at my fingertips. Campus environment is quite volatile, I didn’t want the risks that came with handling cash.

As I made collections, I’d immediately send them to my account, via MCo-op Cash. It helps alot that checking Co-op Bank account balances is free. I learnt an easy way to transfer money between bank accounts.

As my safety net, I’d make weekly deposits to my mother’s Co-op Bank account as savings.

Besides making deposits and money transfers easier locally, MCo-op Cash offers a rich boutique of money transfer solutions offered by Co-op Bank on a global level. For Android users, click here to download MCo-op Cash app from Playstore. For IOS users, MCo-op Cash app is available here on Applestore.

Or, just dial *667# to register.

After an uncertain month of operations, several betting companies have finally received their permits for the 2022/2023 trading period, among them giant sports investors such as SportPesa.

The move which comes few weeks before the Kenya Premier League new football season kicks off on September 10 is a sigh of relief for various clubs and sports entities that have struggled to get partners to fund their teams. The permits for all betting firms are renewed annually and lapse every June 30th.

Betting companies are some of the largest investors in sports. SportPesa which has been operating using a court order since resuming business in November 2020 will now operate under Betting Control and Licensing number 0000448.

Other firms that have so far received their licenses include Betika, Odibets, Sportybet, Shabiki and Betsafe among others. Last month, some of these companies had to temporarily shut down their paybills as they sought clearance from BCLB as well as other state agencies; as part of the pre-licensing conditions.

Some of the conditions included a clearance from the Kenya Revenue Authority, Financial Reporting Centre and a Ksh250,000 bank guarantee among others.

“Our paybill numbers are currently unavailable affecting deposits and withdrawals and we are working with the relevant government agencies to have them restored so that you continue to enjoy the best gaming experience,” Betsafe told its customers on July 7, a week after the deadline of re-licensing had passed.

Betting firms are required to renew their licenses annually, a move that has always been mired in long standing push and pull over the conditions for licensing.

As the betting firms which are large investors in sports sought licenses, some football clubs were adversely affected when sponsorships were prematurely ended.

AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia who were sponsored by Betsafe at the start of the 2021/2022 KPL season had to look for new sponsors mid-season. The two popular clubs are now sponsored by Betika and BetArique respectively.

A relatively rural ward with an easy-to-forget name is rapidly becoming an household name, thanks to the stellar exploits of her representative at the Meru County Assembly. This is Abogeta West Ward, made global by her MCA – Hon. Dmk Kiogora – one of the brains behind the highly successful Kenya Airlift Program.

The Kenya Airlift Program is an award-winning program structured to alleviate financial challenges Kenyans face when pursuing dreams of furthering their studies in the US.

Hon. Dmk Kiogora in an undated image with two of his students (file image)

Not only does the program enable access to affordable American schools to study, but also facilitates funding for Masters’ Degree programs. This includes tuition, living and relocation expenses in the US.

The other person of interest in The Kenya Airlift Program is Bob Mwiti, the mercurial Managing Director of a US-based consulting company known as Appstec America. This firm is committed to helping immigrants secure education & IT job opportunities in the USA.

Both are Meru natives, but this partnership was borne of their experiences abroad.

Bob Mwiti moved to the USA in 2009, for college – and faced lots of challenges securing employment as an immigrant. He’d later land a job as a Systems Analyst/Consultant in a Fortune 500 company in the US – and later found the organisation to help ease transition for other immigrants.

Dmk Kiogora would become an MCA in Abogeta West, and join a bench marking trip to the US – ends up meeting Bob Mwiti. They’d agree on a partnership, make an effort to Airlift brilliant Kenyans who wish to study IT-related master’s programs at select Universities in USA.

Kenya Airlift Program Co-founder Bob Mwiti (file image)

The prolific politician has since become the face of the Kenya Airlift Program.

To help finance the program, he facilitated registration of The Airlift Sacco (TAS). The program has since weathered teething problems, and as at August 2022, managed to secure sponsorship – tuition, accommodation, travel and Visa – for over 50 scholars recruited across the republic to the USA.

There’s an autonomous application process via the program’s portal, with a detailed qualification and vetting process.

Minimum academic requirement to join this program is an aggregate of a B (plain) in KCSE and a Bachelor’s degree in any field. You must be willing to study an IT-related master’s degree in USA regardless of your Bachelor’s major.

It’s never been easier to study on scholarship, secure work and live in the USA.

An upsurge of global affiliations in education and business circles has prompted local stakeholders in banking and finance industry to adjust with relevant money transfer solutions.

To plug this demand, Co-op Bank has led the pack by unveiling a rich bouquet of money transfer solutions. Co-op Bank has built a solid reputation with fast, secure, affordable money transfer solutions.

For instance, Remitly is fast and secure to send money to Kenya from US, Canada and other European countries. With a Co-op Bank account, you also have access to MoneyGram and Western Union to receive or send money from anywhere in the globe.

In-country, money transfer is easy with Pesalink that links Co-op Bank accounts, or externally transact with other banks. Business deals are easier to deal!

Click here to sample lots of other options on the Co-op Bank money transfer solutions bouquet.

Some friends referred me to a travel agent, but I was hesitant. How do I trust an agent with zero presence on social media? He’s old school, they said.

I visited his office, in the Nairobi CBD. He seemed quite elderly, but with the infectious enthusiasm of a young man nursing the first strands of his beard.

At first glance, you’d dismiss him as a mere hustler riding bareback on a reputation straddling ‘Three Decades of Experience‘. He didn’t even have a secretary, after all.

Boy, wasn’t I wrong.

A speed boat in Lamu – mostly used for excursions around the island (file image)

A few minutes in, I realized the reputation is solid.  Three decades worth of experience in the travel industry meant he probably had every back road, thicket and Baobab tree etched somewhere in his mind.

I’d mention a random destination in Kenya; the old man would start rattling off facts. Think of Wikipedia in a pinstriped suit and orange bow tie. I said I’ve always wanted to visit Lamu.

Aaaah, Lamu.

The old man paused, leaned back in his seat. He swiveled a little.

It’s not a young people thing – even elderly men in swivel seats like to swivel. Its clear Lamu is one of his favorites. But, I didn’t want him to start rattling off facts.

I’d been saving heavily, spending weekends indoors – agonizingly broke with nothing to do but read about Lamu. I wanted to lead this pitch.

“I want to visit Lamu, sir, but I’m an equinophobe”. I said.

“A what?”

The old man leaned forward, elbows on his desk. If he had glasses – it’s at this point that he’d take them off and absently rub them with a soft cloth. He didn’t. Suddenly his hands didn’t have a thing to do.

In three decades, no one had him in a tight intellectual corner.

“I don’t know what that is…”. He’s wise, better to admit than fumble through.

“I fear donkeys – and, I’ve heard Lamu is literally Donkey Island.”

He smiles warmly. He’s back in the picture. Like he never left.

“No! No! There are people in Lamu, too!” He says, bursting in laughter.

I wasn’t kidding. When I was little, I saw a donkey kick the lights out of a man at the market. Since, I’ve had recurrent nightmares.

Plus donkeys pack a nasty bite if you play idiotic games with them. Or, near them. Donkeys don’t like idiots.

As it is, Lamu Town is known for her ridiculously narrow streets – perhaps, four or five feet wide – with high walls on either side. The streets are always in shadow, and cool.

In every ten pedestrians on these streets, seven are donkeys. Or, on donkeys.

There are no vehicles on the island, which I think is surreally romantic – till I learnt that all transport is via donkeys and donkey carts.

“If you meet a donkey in the narrow streets, just flatten yourself against a wall. It won’t hurt.”

“What if he bites?”

“He won’t bite if you don’t. Don’t carry a carrot in your hand”. The old man was teasing.

I felt small. A grown African man living in fear of donkeys; while other men keep pythons as pets. I had to face this. To kill the teasing, I ask him what else makes Lamu tick.

Aaaah, Lamu. Again.

Old man re-schools me on Lamu. Ignore the little that comes up online.

Lamu town is the headquarters of Lamu District – inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001 for her unique Swahili traditional architectural vibes.

Lamu is Lamu – but, there’s more.

There’s Lamu Archipelago – a small group of Island situated on Kenya´s Northen Coast line. This is made up of Lamu, Manda, Pate and Kiwayu islands.

If you don’t like donkeys, my old friend says – can catch a boat and explore the islands.

An image of the beautiful Lamu Beachfront (file image)

It’s enticing – imagine a conversation with an 80-yr-old who’s spent their entire life on an island – no cars, no electricity or WiFi.

I can use a day skimming across the Must See’s: Lamu Museum, Lamu Fort, German Post Office and Siyu Fort. Then, I can try the islands – especially Pate.

Pate Island is a lobster stronghold. If you didn’t know, lobster is best known as a vitality booster. Now you know.

More luck, is that Lamu holds lots of cultural festivals. The biggest is the Maulidi Festival, thronged by Muslims from around East Africa.

It’s iconic, with entertaining events such as dhow races, a donkey race, bao games, henna painting, kofia making, swimming competitions and a football match organized by the locals.

A donkey race? Yaani, people risk bites and kicks to race donkeys! I need to travel, and see Lamu.

I’ve been saving for a vacation at the end of the year, but something rare caught my eye and changed plans.

I bumped into an amazing off-season travel deal between Magical Kenya, Jambojet and Hotels across the Kenyan Coast, Rift Valley and Lakeside region.

This is a vacation deal covering flight and accommodation costs. It takes advantage of low off-season traffic to offer a soft financial landing for travel enthusiasts.

P.S: I’ll be walking around Lamu with nothing on. Ok, just a Kikoi wrapper. Just about time, I hate jeans!

It’s not an easy time to be a gospel artist in Kenya. The gospel niche comes with a strict code of societal expectations. Fans hold gospel idols to a high moral standard. As an artist grows, following the straight and narrow gets harder; what with an adoring legion of fans, groupies and followers.

Besides, it’s twice as hard building a gospel fan base. Fans are choosy – a gospel artist has to surpass boring adoration and praise songs. Fans demand the type of songs King David wrote about in Psalms!

The musical landscape is rapidly shifting, with countless gospel artists switching to secular content. Some artists make silent, no-fan-fare moves. The bold ones effectively torch the gospel bridge to the ground with grand declarations. It’s no longer news.

It’s different, though – when an artist abandons secular trappings of stardom to fully embrace gospel music.

US-based Kenyan secular artist, Msanii Foreman has evoked critical attention with a career switch to gospel music.

Foreman has established a solid secular portfolio in dance hall circles with a string of hits to his name: Simanyi ft. Berine Koroso & Faith Stan, Kiboko ft. Moabi Kotu and a satirical Fresh Barida Cover ft. Mungai Eve & Stevo.

In the new realm, Msanii Foreman has done two gospel video releases: Jango, featuring Jimmy Thee Artist & Flex Muziki and his latest single – Mkaribie.

Do you know why gospel artists are switching to secular music? Here’s why…..

The timeless hit ‘Memories’ by Maroon 5 is a global favorite. It’s a great band, no doubt – except; their lead singer Adam Levine is an unapologetic buffoon. When the band broke out, he bragged of dating a model in an interview, rating it as “one of the perks of being a rock star”.

The crowd laughed it off, but, really – it’s what music stardom is mostly about – the pursuit of fame, money and sex. Gospel artists crave a slice of the pie.

Above all, music is about business – no sales, no income. For independent gospel artists, business gets hard. There’s need to sign up a deal with a recording company. It’s akin to making a deal with the devil. The deal comes with strings attached.

A recording label contract finances recording, seeks concerts, distributes, advertise and promotes. It’s far fetched for a lone ranger gospel artist. So, for business’s sake the contract is binding: wholly controls the artist’s life. The decision to switch is more business than ideological and not for the gospel artist to make.

It’s easy to figure out Msanii Foreman’s strategy in gospel, going by his new singles: Jango and Mkaribie.

First off, there’s an innate desire to serve gospel values. He’s perfected an artistic style that spices up gospel by infusing Afro beat and Dance hall styles to native Swahili lyrics. Lastly, Msanii employs a content angle that steers clear of cliché song patterns of gospel music.

To clinch a larger audience, Foreman uses music to talk about life experiences, emotions, self-worth and relationships – with a divine undertone. Such songs are appealing even to non-Christians. Good music is universal.

 

Mkaribie throws off an easy, Sunday-afternoon feel – with easy, sing-along Swahili lyrics. The videographer is great, employing stunning camera angles, and a rich, vibrant color background. The artist freestyles, in a typical Kenyan pastor’s costume of ill-fitting bright suits and a well-thumbed Bible in his hand!

Mkaribie is the first of many gospel hits the gospel fraternity is sampling from Msanii Foreman. Besides, the artist has grown a solid Swahili audience in the US, largely to the Arizona Swahili Radio franchise.

What are your thoughts? I’d love your feedback.

Here’s the link to the gospel single Mkaribie, Msanii Foreman:

I feel the grit of warm, fine sand in the soft spots between my toes. Curiously, a blurred image of the planet’s diced cross-section in elementary Geography crops up.

It shows the strata – from the layer of white sand massaging my toes to the red hot core. There’s an almost tangible sense of connection with nature.

A blast of wet, salty wind hits full on the face. It breaks my reverie.

Koko regains my attention. Koko has a tiny sharp knife in his right hand, curving away with short practiced strokes at a green coconut. He’s mid-20’s, quite lanky with a couple of thick, brown locks on his head.

School kids frolicking in the white, sandy beaches in Malindi, Kenya (file images)

Koko dons a stained pair of combat shorts with hemline miles above visibly-scarred knees. At his feet, there’s a bunch of green coconuts – he sells Madafu – the overrated coconut water drink. He’s a career beach boy. He sells Madafu in the low season.

I point to his feet. He’s barefoot.

“Koko, unavaa kiatu number ngapi?”

I ask, with a relaxed familiarity seemingly built over a long period of friendship. Wrong. I’ve known him inside the half an hour I’ve been on the beach. He ain’t offended, like it certainly would to a large swab of upcountry people.

Watu wa bara. Sic.

“I don’t know. Sijawahi vaa kiatu, kaka brazza.” Koko says, good naturedly.

I wait for the rejoinder. Most people quickly follow a joke on themselves with a redeeming rejoinder. Koko has none.

I take my eyes off a bare-chested man walking perhaps a quarter mile in the ocean – its low tide – and, look at Koko. A straight face – like you’d have on a recitation of the Apostle’s Creed

I survived a shoeless phase in our rural primary school days, but – striding through three decades of life without a shoe? Hard to take that in.

Koko’s feet – like most local lads stomping by – were heavily webbed. Yes, like a duck’s.

See how your favorite (ugly) Crocs are web-shaped? They were meant for the beach. Not for the mall, and certainly not with socks.

Here, it’s not entirely useless. Career beach boys literally swim better than ducks.

I ask for a second Madafu. Koko is interesting. It beats staring at an empty seabed. Low tide is underwhelming. The banter comes easily.

To be honest, I hate the drink. For taste, Madafu is neither here nor there – a quite bleak affair. It’s not sweet, or sour – oh, wait – it tastes like a yucky version of ORS.

That oddly-tasting salt and sugar mixture used to treat diarrhoea. No (yes) offense, Coasterians.

Like you’d offer a whiskey shot to a benevolent bartender in a new town, I offer Koko a drink of his own. He settles down flat on the sand.

Koko is native Digo – one of the nine constituent Mijikenda sub tribes. He was born and bred in Likoni. Storytelling comes naturally to this tribe. Perhaps, the trait that makes Coastal Kenya so appealing and homely.

Koko vividly narrates of his early life, starting school. He’d drop out in sixth class, and not for lack of want.

His father was a fairly successful fisherman, and schooling was inexpensive. He just says – ‘the beach called’ – and, ever since Koko has been on Shelly Beach. Its barely a mile from Likoni Ferry.

Koko is super fluent in English and Swahili, but he doesn’t know, or get to write.

On the Swahili adage ‘Mugala muue na haki umpe’,  he’s double fluent in German, French, Italian and a bit of Swiss. But, if humanity depended on it – Koko cannot read or write any of their syllables!

Of paradoxes in life – Less is more, You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t – I bumped into the biggest paradox of my life.

How does a man speak six of the biggest global languages and lack the basic skill to write his own name?

I’m now on my third Madafu. The taste kind of grows on you – I guess taste buds just slump out, resigned to their fate.

“How did you learn all these languages?” I ask Koko.

“Hapa tu kwa beach na tourists. Miaka kumi na tano kwa beach sio mchezo.” Koko says, and shrugs.

There’s a faraway look in his eyes. The tide is coming in.

Koko is happily married to an age mate, a beautiful Digo lady.

Aside, in conspiratory tones – Koko lets slip that he’s been thrice married before, as he says ‘in my younger years’.

To a German, a French and lastly to a Swiss lady – before ‘cruel pandemic’ had cut short the romance. They’d been prepared to travel to Switzerland, but Covid 19 happened.

Koko digs out a dog eared pamphlet wrapped in a polythen paper from his side pocket. It’s his passport.

Dear Lord, its colorful – end to end stamped with arrivals and departures in cities across the world. If you have a travel bucket list, Koko has most probably ticked off three-quarters of it.

A group of youth in an exercise run at a beach in Mombasa, Kenya (file image)

Wait, barefoot.

Well, fancy a nonchalant stride through cobbled streets in Munich – barefoot, and webbed.

Suddenly, my world felt so small. Not unlike a translucent lizard on the wall in my servant quarter rental house. I’ve always felt like a snobbish brag when I say I live in Karen, up-market Nairobi.

A beach boy hawking bland-tasting Madafu on Shelly Beach has been there, and certainly done that.

I’ll have to travel more. I’ve started baby steps.

This year, I couldn’t resist incredible off-season travel plans in a deal between Magical Kenya, Jambojet and Hotels across the Kenyan Coast, Rift Valley and Lakeside region.

I didn’t see dolphins, learn surfing or attempt drowning with a snorkel on my two-day stay-cation. But, I did meet Koko – who served an unapologetic juxtaposition to personal ideals about life.

See you soon, Koko.

#TembeaKenya

For enthusiasts ticking off destinations on their travel bucket list in Kenya, there are two must-visit places in Kenya. The first spot is Iten – famous as the ‘Land of Champions’ for the plethora of global marathon legends with roots here. It’s often packed, and easy to find.

The other spot is Wasini Island. This is a serene, exotic island a few miles to the Kenya-Tanzania border. That’s the furthest end of South Coast, Kenya, but – certainly the most interesting.

A young boy learning spearfishing skills in Wasini, Kenya. (file images)

Iten and Wasini Island are on opposite ends of the country, but have exhibited a similar phenomenon. There’s an interesting fusion of man and nature in a naturalization sequence that has brought out extreme, extraordinary abilities for the natives.

In Iten, the natives are natural athletes. It’s a high altitude zone. As the visitors often run short of breath at the slightest incline in their path, natives are effortlessly cresting hills. Observing a measured, even stride uphill – you’d be forgiven to assume packing an extra pair of lungs.

Wasini Island by virtue of being on the border, hosts an interesting mix of Swahili and Arabic culture. The language, the complexion of the residents is neither Arabic, nor Swahili. They, however exhibit an overly-friendly disposition akin to Lamu Swahili culture. They have a natural gift: their affinity to the ocean.

Spear Fishermen of Wasini Island.

Spear fishing is interesting, and an extremely dangerous vocation. Oh, wait – spear fishing is a form of fishing where the fisherman is swimming in the water with a spear gun. This is a contraption used underwater with the basic bow-and-arrow concept but the arrow or spear has a thread attached.

The fisherman dons a pair of swimming goggles, grabs his spear gun and gets into the water. The trick is to swim as quietly and as close as possible to the fish – then spear them. Once a fish is hit, it’s threaded along the line. The fisherman has to ready the gun’s trigger system rigged with a strong rubber band that launches the spear.

It’s all good, except – all this is done – while still doing your best not to drown!

If you sit on the beach at Shimoni – the gateway to Wasini Island, you’ll notice bright colored buoys moving through the water. That buoy marks the spear fisherman underneath the water, for boats and dhows on the surface.

Shortly, you’ll behold a man emerging from the water. He’s armed with nothing fancy in diving equipment, just a pair of goggles and a snorkel.

Spearfishing off Nuakata Island.

As the athletes in Iten break world records in distance running, spear fishermen are facing off sharks, shallow water blackout, heavy seas, strong currents, jelly fish, and risk drowning as a result of line tangles. Spear fishing by its very nature is an extreme sport and few activities can rival the excitement and thrill of landing a quality fish.

Both of these skills are innate, shaped by locality and honed by practice.

It’s an eerie feeling watching a man wade and disappear into the ocean. Then, watch him resurface with a stringed-up bunch of fish.

Travelling exposes one to experiences beyond their regular circle.

Lately, it’s become easier to reach most vacation spots across the country, thanks to an incredible off-season deal between Magical Kenya, Jambojet and Hotels across the country. The deal covers exotic vacation spots on the length of the Kenyan Coast, to Rift Valley and Lakeside region.

The package covers return flight tickets and accommodation costs in affordable off-season rates. It’s not limited to hanging out with athletes or snacking on roast fish on a beach with spear fishermen. There’s much more.

It’s time to create new memories and experiences. The Jambojet-Magical Kenya deal has more to offer, even to other parts of the scenic country.

Click here, to sample endless amazing offers.

If you are #NowTravelReady, here is your chance to #TembeaKenya!

 

How Do You Know it’s Time to End a Long Friendship?


The tired phrase “We’ve known each other a long time” is not a good reason to stay friends with someone. In a way, you never end a friendship, the friendship fizzles out by itself – a slow, agonizing death.

It’s a thorn that has been pricking flesh for eons – testing family ties, business, and ruling alliances. So much, that Aristotle would pen a candid essay titled “On Friendships”, that tables a 3-pronged ‘friendship-meter’ system:

Friends hanging out in the hood (file image)

Pleasure Friendships:

This kind is fickle, and superficial. These are the people in your gang – often meet up at the local for a fun drink or the mbogi that call you for the soccer derby.

This group will easily pool resources for an odd road trip out of town – but, not pool resources to pay a member’s hospital bill. But, they hardly know your family, kids or what business you do – if you are in business.

If you don’t turn up for Karaoke Wednesday, and miss a couple more – they’ll move on without as much as a call.

Useful Friendships:

Well, this is based on material benefits. It may be work-based, same employer. It may be business-oriented, same business circles.

It’s loosely principled on money, special favors – perhaps, you work in a firm that offers periodic gifts or vouchers that someone leeches off.

This suffers a blow, when one of the parties is no longer as useful. Do not invest emotionally in it.

Virtuous Friendships:

It’s ideally grounded by a common desire for good, and prosperity. It’s all rounded – family, business – and often generational. College friendships may grow on, to form family-level bonds.

However, when the friendship cookie starts to crumble, it leaves a bigger emotional mess in its wake.

The secret for longevity lies in making efforts to nurture it. There are tell-tale signs, however, when a friendship has outran its viable phase.

Here are two common reasons most friendships die a slow death:

Social Status

Friendships are built around social circles. A promotion at work may come with a sudden change of income. A friend moves into an upscale neighborhood, hanging spots……

Slowly communication starts to fade and die out. Little effort is made to call, meet or share an evening as you used to.

If a friend starts to miss important family dates or events you previously marked, well – that’s a sign.

Communication

This is crucial in a friendship. Tight friends are usually up on each other’s call logs, social media timelines and frequent meet-up’s.

Theme nights are a thing – Karaoke, Fun Fridays….. then, it dies out.

When you try to call or chat, the other is busy, or driving, or cooking – and, can they call you later?

That ‘Call you Later, Bestie’ happens a few weeks down the line. You are alone in that friendship.

Well, it’s apparent that communication nurtures the bond in every friendship. It matters, too, how heavily friend banter weighs down on their respective budgets.

Presently, this needn’t bite to reach a fiend for some juicy grapevine – thanks to the timely Nyoosha Shilingi factor.

Communication is now much cheaper.

Nyoosha Shilingi is a brainchild of leading communication provider Safaricom to help their clients navigate harsh economic times with more on offer (calls and data) for the same amount.

Simply put, for the same price, Data, Calls and SMS offers are extended by between 40% and 100%.

Nyoosha Shilingi has made using Whatsapp, for audio and video calls a viable option. For offline friends, regular calls are asking for much less in billing.

For example, Safaricom has introduced All-in-One packages. There’s a choice of three. Well, say – Ksh550.

Initially, this would get 1.5GB+100 min+500 SMS+Free WhatsApp, but with the Nyoosha Shilingi rate, users now enjoy 2GB+100 min+500 SMS+Free WhatsApp.

More fun video calls for friends wishing to stay in touch.

The new data rates have hit really well with the youth, on daily, weekly and monthly bundle packages.

For example, the Daily bundle at Ksh10 now fetches 35MBs and 15 SMS, up from the previous 15MBs and 15 SMS. It also lasts longer!

On weekly data package rates, Ksh99 would fetch 350MB and Free WhatsApp but Nyoosha Shilingi presents an incredible 500MBs and Free WhatsApp!

The best on monthly packages is with Ksh1000 coming with 7GB+Free WhatsApp, up from the previous 5GB and Free WhatsApp.

Nyoosha Shilingi is available to all Safaricom users – Prepaid, Postpaid and Hybrid. It’s normal play in the purchase of the bundles, through Mpesa, airtime cards and redeeming Bonga Points.

There’s more on offer. Easily check the offers by dialing *544#, through My Safaricom App, Blaze App and official Safaricom website.

It’s time to indulge yourself by streaming your favorite series!

Like a fruit that doesn’t fall far from the family tree that delighted in a generational line of teachers – I studied education in college.

However, on the hustling trail that precedes formal employment, I stumbled into the tours and travel industry – purely by chance. I was hooked.

A tour guide, a profession that largely mirrors my passions: travelling, wild living and culture.

The Masai Mara Reserve would be my on-job-training hub and career launch pad.

Tour guiding came easily to me. It’s a bit of a craft, and mostly an innate personality-driven vocation. Are you a good storyteller, passionate about a place you are showing? That’s a thing.

A cropped image of the Mara lion Sikio Kali, showing his nipped left ear (file images)

For example, the Mara Reserve enjoys huge coverage online –  visitors would probably have read the text. As their guide, my job is to give stories and anecdotes they won’t learn from the web.

Don’t be boring. Do not roll off facts like a robot – throw in a joke to break the ice.

As a rule, try to learn everyone’s name. Make new networks, new friendships. I have made lifelong friends from abroad, through our excursions in the Mara.

These friendship bonds have been made bolder through human-wildlife interactions.

In June 2021 as a newbie, I was assigned a group of tourists from the United States. They’d been following a pride of lions in the Mara known as The Four Musketeers, for years.

Tragically, one member of the lion pride – Scarface – had then just died, from natural causes on 11th June, 2021.

Scarface, the lion – had earned the moniker by a slash across his right eye – from a territorial fight.

That episode cemented in me the seriousness of my job. Locally, few people knew about a lion pride that ruled Mara like a kingdom, named “The Four Musketeers”.

Fewer still, cared that a lion had died. Yet, I’d meet a bunch of Americans visiting to commemorate the passing of the “World’s Most Famous Lion”.

That pride had three other lions: Sikio Kali, Hunter and Morani.

I’d make life-long friends in that expedition. They’d keep in contact from the USA, checking up on me – and, of course, keeping tabs with the surviving members of The Four Musketeers.

Fast forward, to June 2022 – I was at the coast on my annual leave.

Sikio Kali, the surviving leader of The Four Musketeers lion pride – is in trouble. Oh, wait. Sikio Kali was born in 2005, and earned the name due to his most distinguishing feature – a severed left ear. He lost most of it in a territorial fight.

I got a call from one of the American friends, from the initial 2021 expedition. He’d learnt from a park ranger’s social media page that Sikio Kali was in trouble.

It’s a dangerous life for a predator in the Mara, even for a lion. It’s a life or death affair catching dinner.

Now, Sikio Kali had got on the wrong business end of a warthog’s tusks in a dinner operation gone awry. He’d suffered nasty gushes from the warthog’s tusks.

Warthogs, alongside buffalo and wildebeest – are very dangerous prey – tusks and horns.

Luckily, hawk-eyed Masai Mara rangers spotted the ailing lion, in the nick of time. Sikio Kali’s wounds had already gone septic, filled with maggots.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Mara Mobile Unit found the lion. The team manually cleaned, disinfected, sewn him up and administered antibiotics.

Sikio Kali is well on the way to recovery.

The lion’s friend in the US couldn’t travel to witness the operation. He’d asked me to chronicle the whole process for his collection on The Three Musketeers pride.

As I was on leave, he’d offered to facilitate my movement back to Nairobi, and purchase basic video equipment. A flight ticket, and a few day’s stay in an hotel in the city.

I felt like a global photographer!

I realized it’s as easy as ABC to send money globally, instantly and safely through a Co-op Bank account, via Wave.

Wave is a fast, safe and affordable way to send money from the United States into your Co-op Bank account. The Wave App is available for download on Google Play Store or the App Store.

Besides Wave, Co-op Bank has other equally safe and instant money transfer solutions either locally or globally, suited for different regions.

Check here for the full Co-op Bank Money Transfer solutions bouquet.

It was fun learning colors back in elementary school. Remember belting out that catchy tone “Richard Of York Gained Battle In Vain“? That’s to name the color spectrum on the rainbow, from the red at the top to violet at the bottom.

All good. Except, the basic spectrum mutated into a thousand other variations that makes color identification an impossible exercise.

Kenyans are generally poor with colors.

I have suffered on my delivery runs for orders made from my online business. I sell second-hand kids clothing from my house. Online business model is great, and the weakest part in that chain is the human factor.

Delivery is a total nightmare, if you remember that Kenyans also share a collective inability to give directions properly. In a day’s work, expect a mix of hilarious and equally frustrating experiences.

My business has pages on all social media pages, but activity is highest on Facebook and Twitter pages. On a daily basis, I take photos of clothes available with my phone at different angles, and upload. From my page, I share the posts on other Facebook pages and groups for more visibility.

I log into Twitter, check top trends of the day and tag along. On average, depending on the day of the week, and date – I engage with a different number of clients. There are direct referrals by past clients, and general queries. I spend six to seven hours online every day, engaging with clients.

If you’ve ever tried to fish, this is it. The item is the bait, but – will the clients bite? Out of 10 possible clients making an inquiry, 5 will ask the price of the item, and go silent. Three will ask possible date for the next ‘Bale Opening’, and so on.

Two out of 10, will make an order, and pay. I have a Safaricom Till Number displayed on the page. Now comes the delivery part. I deliver free within town, and a small fee out of town. I live in Nyeri.

Client 1: Kuja tu na Kimathi Street. Hapo kati kati kuna junction ya Waridi Supermarket. Chukua hio njia. Utapata shop ya viatu imepakwa green karibu na taa ya tatu ya Mulika Mwizi... (I’m on a green-painted shoe shop on a road off Kimathi Street, at the Waridi Supermarket Junction).

Well, I find out it’s a four-way junction and each of those roads has a series of County Council floodlights. I’m lost. When I later find the shop, it’s not green-painted, it’s mint. Close.

Client 2: I’m a teacher at St.Michael Preparatory School, on the end of Koinange Avenue. I’ll meet you, I’m in a red top.

Easy, right? Teachers are precise and articulate. Wrong, they are Kenyan! First, there’s no Koinange Avenue, and worse, the school has a plethora of branches. The teacher is in a maroon top!

All these cases mean a great deal of to-and-fro with clients. Mercifully, most of my clients are on WhatsApp, so there’s a bit of online calls and chats. Sometimes, the clients are offline. It’s down to regular calls on Safaricom.

In the beginning, calling and data rates would eat heavily into profits. It took a while to break even, but lately its easier with Nyoosha Shilingi, the new Safaricom data and calling rates plan. I’ve even started video calls with clients. Kids are now more proactive in choosing colors and styles of their clothing.

It’s easier with online video calls, which means no returns and more referrals from happy clients.

Safaricom has activated Nyoosha Shilingi, timely offer that shields their clients in the present harsh economic times with new and revamped data bundles. For the same price, Data, Calls and SMS offers are extended by between 40% and 100%.

This means, unlike before when I’d use Ksh20 to buy 50MBS, now the amount fetches me 100MBS. That’s double!

What’s better is that the data doesn’t run in the middle of a clients call. It’s not as rushed as before!

Since I’m a daily internet user, I prefer daily data packages. I’m now purchasing 300MBs daily bundle, for just Ksh50. Previously, this would buy just 150MBs. I usually purchase data plans from MPesa, though – one can still purchase bundles by loading airtime or redeeming Bonga Points.

I have clients who prefer the weekly package, of which Ksh99 gets 500MBs, instead of the usual 350MBs. That’s an almost 50% increase.

Clothes move more when school closes, so I expect more client engagement. I’m budgeting for the Nyoosha Shilingi offer of 2.5GB+Free WhatsApp for Ksh500 bob, so that I don’t need to log out between sessions.

All Safaricom customers: Prepaid, Postpaid and Hybrid can access new Nyoosha Shilingi data plans.

There’s more really, on offer on the Safaricom website. Some good deals. What wouldn’t you stream on the 7GB+Feee WhatsApp bundle? It’s just Ksh1000. It’s time to chill and watch a movie after work!

Only specific bundles come with free WhatsApp. It’s easy to check the new data plans. Just dial *544#, *555#. Also, plans are displayed on My Safaricom App, Blaze App and on the official Safaricom website – www.safaricom.co.ke/bundles.

It’s a whole new experience on Safaricom’s seamless network.

Pro Tip: It’s always a better experience with your gadget if their apps and software is up to date. The new data plans are ideal for this purpose. There will be plenty of leftover data for fun!