High school lesson number one: You don’t need to eat bread at every tea break

In a lot of ways, the plot in Barbara Kimenye’s popular book series – Moses – could have been set in my school. No wonder we loved those books so much.

High school in those days dished out much more than academic certificates – it was an all inclusive holistic life shaping – and how to survive in the harsh outside world.

First off, high school gave us a chance to venture outside the suffocating confines of our village and exposed us to other cultures.

He who doesn’t travel thinks his mother is the best cook.

We got used to weevil-ridden fare in smoky kitchens with sweaty, scowling cooks. In some occasions, we’d catch a whiff of kerosene in the githeri!

The village had embraced us in a loving embrace – then high school ripped us from that comforting embrace to the cruelty of sadistic bullies.

You learn that people can be unkind for no reason.

You learn the world doesn’t owe you a soft landing.

The basics of the social system – elite class, the middle class and the peasants – are first made apparent in high school. One learns there will always be people richer and wealthier, but not necessarily smarter. The grades in class is what mattered.

On money, lessons were served fast and harshly.

What may seem exorbitant to one may turn out to be mere chicken feed to another. In those days, I’d feel rich if my folks and relatives in the village sent me back to school with 500 bob as pocket money – shopping inclusive. Then I’d meet urban kids living like kings with unlimited funding!

High school taught us restraint – one doesn’t need to eat bread with margarine on every break.

The ingenious village kids would often come up with tricks to earn extra income.

I know a lad who cleaned the 4K club rabbit hutches for a fee. Most of the club’s members were averse to the tedious chores. He made a tidy sum after classes.

Another lad made a name as a data entry expert – copy writing notes and long assignments over the weekends. He’d also write fancy, wordy, perfumed letters to pen pals in neighboring schools for a fee.

The harshest lesson was dished out in form one, second term. I lost a tidy sum of money to con artists at the bus terminus in town on the way to school.

It was the school fees – stashed in my socks. To date, it amazes me how they had realized I had money on me.

Nowadays, luckily, school kids do not have to expose themselves to con artists and pick pockets.

There are a million cashless ways to pay school fees safely and conveniently, from home, office or in between activities on the farm.

Co-op Bank clients have a myriad of options available to easily and safely pay school fees for their kids.

Parents can easily pay school fees through Co-op M-Pesa Paybill 400200, MCo-op Cash, PesaLink or at a Co-op Kwa Jirani agent at the local grocery, pharmacy or supermarket. All one needs is to fill in details of the school’s Co-op Bank account number and the money goes straight to the school’s account.

There’s no need to expose pupils and students to the perils of carrying hard cash.

ALSO READ: https://www.ghafla.com/sponsored/the-choices-one-makes-on-the-first-week-in-high-school-makes-or-breaks-all-future-prospects/

Need ideas to surprise your family this Christmas? Try a signature Cassava-themed dish!

It’s time for healthier and more appealing food – to the eye, and the palate.

Here’s an often-ignored African food: The Cassava Tuber.

The cassava is versatile, but often suffers the blunt of masculine jokes. It’s a popular feature in fertility and virility jokes – there’s a conception that Cassava adds fuel to a man’s drive.

It’s true.

Besides, the root is gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free, making it a potential food substitute for people with allergies.

However, Cassava roots, skin and leaves contain cyanogen glycosides that are toxic, thus needs some preparation routines before consumption. Otherwise, it’s an important source of nutrients and energy.

This cyanide content is removed by peeling and cooking the tuber.

The Cassava tuber has an earthy, mild taste and starchy consistency. It can be used in a variety of recipes, basically as you might prepare potatoes – steamed, baked, mashed, boiled, or roasted.

Cassava can also be fried and made into chips, similar in preparation and taste to potato chips. The chips can be ingeniously flavored with native herbs and spices like garlic, cinnamon – and fried just as crispy and delicious as French fries.

This is a popular street delicacy in urban coast – peddled on the pavements and open-air markets.

Cassava can also be eaten similarly to mashed potatoes – combined with butter, roasted garlic, or grated cheese, or topped with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil or a large spoonful of caramelized onion.

To start, examine your Cassava tubers.

The roots should have a clean fresh scent and snowy white center when cut open. Break off the end of the Cassava. If the flesh has black specks, lines, or any discoloration, it should be discarded.

Before cooking, Cassava needs to be peeled and cut. Because of the thick skin and protective wax coating, use a regular knife.

Stand the root up on its end and slice vertically along the edges until the skin has been completely peeled off.

Next, remove the core. Some methods may have the core removed after cooking, but, pre-removal is the safer bet.

Stand the root pieces on end and cut the peeled root in half lengthwise to expose the woody core – curve and discard the woody, thread core.

The cassava is now ready to cook in a recipe or safely frozen for future use.

At this point, you can use the Cassava in essentially the same ways you’d use potatoes, or yams. There’s lots of recipes: Cassava-meat recipes, Cassava-flour bread, Cassava crisps and chips, et al.

This is a healthy family treat. In the village, the plus is that Cassava is fresh, as it’s widely grown. All you need to purchase is the auxiliary ingredients.

In the village, support local businesses by shopping for ingredients locally. It makes no sense to shop for garlic in the city – check at the local grocery – who’s also may be a Co-op Kwa Jirani agent.

Co-op Bank has a unique banking experience through its Co-op Kwa Jirani model that mirrors banking in conventional banking halls.

At Co-op Kwa Jirani, instant cash withdrawals and deposits from Co-op Bank account, SACCO Account or Fethalink are available, a real convenience.

This festive season, access banking services at your local Co-op Kwa Jirani outlet – and boost your neighbor’s business by shopping locally!

ALSO READ: https://www.ghafla.com/sponsored/would-you-like-to-become-a-co-op-kwa-jirani-agent-it-doubles-traffic-and-increases-sales-at-your-business-premises/

Have you ever had to manage rowdy, inebriated family members on a Christmas Day night out?

A teetotaler’s idea of a bad evening is hanging out with people enjoying a drink. It’s all fun at first, but the scale soon tips – and it’s all downhill.

It suddenly shifts from a good evening to a realization that hanging out in a pub with this crowd wasn’t a good idea.

It’s especially worse, if it’s the annual Christmas Day family night out at the village pub.

The family joins up half of the tables in the pub into one long ‘conference table’. At first, everyone sits randomly, but as the night gets merrier, alliances start.

As a teetotaler, everyone wants to buy you a drink. Like, I mean, how many packs of fruit juice can you take in a night? Pretty soon, your section of the inebriation conference table is packed with soda and fruit juice.

Then, drunk long lost cousins will suddenly remember how close you all are.

Someone will throw an arm across your shoulders, and slur into your ear:

“Bro, hii miaka yote nishawahi kukosea?”

“Bro, ulisema utanipa kuku moja nikakulie Nairobi? Kwetu Rongai kuku ni expensive sana!”

Before you can think of something cordially apt in response, a mild scuffle at the far end of the table catches your attention.

Uncle Tosh, the official family MC and acclaimed ‘entrepreneur’ is a drink or two past his threshold. He wants to know where he’s parked his jalopy. In normal circumstances, that query would be valid – except that on this night no one drove to the village pub – it’s within walking distance from home.

One of your cousins at some point has doused your fruit juice with whisky.

You realize it’s close to curfew hour, and no one seems in a hurry to leave….

Shortly, the pub’s owner and former classmate beckons for a private chat. He wants the bill cleared, as the law demands close down before the curfew.

“They haven’t paid?” You ask, pointing at the lot over your shoulder with your thumb.

Mentally, you are fast making count of all the fruit juice ordered in your name.

“Oh, they have paid, except Tosh. He has a bill….” The owner tells you.

Meanwhile, Uncle Tosh is trying some Lingala moves between the tables. It’d be hilarious to watch, if the little matter of his pending bill wasn’t looming so low overhead.

“How much?” You ask.

“Tosh has 6,600 not paid. He asked for The Whisky bottle”.

At the village pub, The Whisky is an expensive bottle of Scotch whisky that has gathered dust on the shelf for a couple of years. No one had dared ordered it!

You approach Uncle Tosh, and he chooses the moment to remind you how in his hey days, he had sacrificed everything to pay your father’s school fees. You owe him, see?

Reluctantly, you realize you are the only hope in saving the family’s face. You need to clear the bill. How now, at almost curfew time in the village?

As a Co-op Bank client, you have an open option.

Next door, the late-night pharmacy is also a Co-op Kwa Jirani agent. A withdrawal allows you to clear the pending bill, though prior marked as “Bedsitter Rent Money”.

Well, Uncle Tosh ain’t entirely safe – you confiscate his phone to make a claim for refunds in the morning.

It’ll be easy to prove – every transaction at a Co-op Kwa Jirani gets instant notification sent to your mobile number for easy account management!

Click here to learn more, or visit the nearest Co-op Bank branch.

Also Read: https://www.ghafla.com/sponsored/did-you-know-that-a-co-op-kwa-jirani-agent-offers-the-exact-same-services-available-at-any-co-op-bank-branch/

Do you inwardly groan in agony each time your spouse mutters: “Aki sina pesa ya Chama hii mwezi….”?

Despite the effects of the pandemic, the festive season is gradually mellowing. It may not peak to usual levels in previous years, but, still, the festive fever is slowly spreading.

People seem happier on a general scale.

The urban dwellers are increasingly lighting up sleepy, dreary village paths. It’s a great change for new faces, new dialects and much-needed treats from the city.

The hilarious theatrics, though!

The inevitable Selfie’s are OK, and expected.

Grandma is patiently begrudging teenage grandkids with the odd Selfie. After all, she recently got funky new dentures – a set of heavenly white enamel jewels.

What’s not Ok, though, is the filters on every photo taken for Instagram. The village has a natural feel, a rusty aura that makes a fortnight away from the concrete jungle a worthwhile sojourn.

Be natural!

The men use the village vacation to bond with their age mates.

They’ll leave the homestead at break of dawn ‘to see Mwenda pale karibu na cattle dip’ – and, they’ll return at midnight, if at all.

They’ll return sloshed on local brews. But, true to self, they’ll chew their way through cold dinner to appease their spouses!

Men are simple in nature. No one cares about who bought a new ride, or who snapped up a lucrative tender with a local NGO. Their boyhood friendships are rekindled over a pot of local brew.

The urban women easily bond in secluded groups with their village peers and share funny tidbits about their husbands.

Women are generous – they’ll share wigs, weaves and Vitenge fabrics. They’ll share new recipes and coach each other on new beauty trends.

The urban ladies will call their urban friends and introduce them to their village friends – and it’s wonderful, basic networking.

“Aki wewe Mama Natasha, ukipatana na Mama Mike mnaweza kuwa marafiki sana”.

And, that’s how lifelong friendships are made.

Women tend to cement new alliances with future plans. They’ll make steaming pots of tea – and talk about forming new Chama’s. They’ll even elect new officials and form a conclusive constitution.

It matters not, if all members are in the village for X-mas. They’ll call lady friends they think are a fit for the new Chama.

It’s incredulous, but a section of the region’s most enterprising investments started with a group of ladies gushing about everything over a pot of tea.

The new Chama officials will hit the ground running. The treasurer role usually gets a grounded woman.

She’ll marshal the rest into opening a central Chama account.

For this account, each will get the number – and, like clockwork, each member channels monthly contributions.

The men? Well, the agony wrought upon by their spouses muttering:

“Aki sina pesa ya Chama hii mwezi….”

If you form an impromptu Chama with fellow ladies, it’s prudent to consider opening a central Chama account with Co-op Bank.

Co-op Bank has established a unique grass root banking experience through its Co-op Kwa Jirani model that mirrors banking in conventional banking halls.

These agents are your everyday grocer shops, butcheries, hardware dealers, et al.

At Co-op Kwa Jirani, one can make instant cash withdrawals and deposits from Co-op Bank account, SACCO Account or Fethalink.

That’s how conveniently new Chama members make deposits into a central account, right from next door!


Would you like to become a Co-op Kwa Jirani Agent? It doubles traffic and increases sales at your business premises.

Becoming a banking agent in lots of ways attracts new customers into your business premises. As a business offers banking services, it markets it gainfully markets its brand. This exposure means more clients, thus more sales.

Co-op Kwa Jirani is a grass root banking model meant to align daily banking requirements conveniently to your lifestyle, ran by Co-op Bank.

Co-op Kwa Jirani enables customers to carry out all banking transactions through an agent appointed by the bank.

Co-op Bank’s Agency Banking mostly entails cash deposit taking, cash withdrawals, school fees payments, utility payments, balance enquiry, mini-statements among others. One needs to have an account with Co-operative Bank to work as an agent.

The minimum balance of an agent will be determined by one’s appraisal forwarded to the Co-operative Bank.

Who can use Co-op Kwa Jirani?
Customers, non-customers, SACCO-link members, Co-operatives, MCU customers, SME customers and corporates.

You don’t have to be a Co-op Bank account holder to apply to be an agent.

The baseline requirements:

This is as easy as ABC. At your nearest Co-op Bank branch, fill in an application form and submit the following documents along with the application form:

  • Certificate of good conduct (for the individual)
  • PIN certificate
  • Bank statements if you are not a Co-op Bank account holder
  • Business permits for the last 12 months
  • Current business permit
  • Certificate of registration
  • Copy of ID or equivalent
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Business owners’ or directors’ CVs
  • CBK Form 3 & CBK Form 4 witnessed by Commissioner of Oaths

For corporates and SACCOs, the following additional documents will be required:

  • Audited books of accounts for the last two years
  • Resolution to carry out agency banking
  • SASRA approval for FOSA’s
  • VAT registration (where applicable)
  • The applicable fees to facilitate approval are:
  • CBK application fee – Ksh 1,000
  • Float placement – Determined by customer limit which is arrived at during appraisal

To learn all about Co-op Kwa Jirani visit the online portal, by clicking here. Alternatively, visit the nearest Co-op Bank branch – the bank staff will be ready to actively assist you sort out any queries.

Related: https://www.ghafla.com/sponsored/did-you-know-that-a-co-op-kwa-jirani-agent-offers-the-exact-same-services-available-at-any-co-op-bank-branch/

Did you know that a Co-op Kwa Jirani agent offers the exact, same services available at any Co-op Bank branch?

The Co-op Kwa Jirani banking model is meant to suit your lifestyle and offer convenience, by bringing banking services to your door step. There’s absolutely no need to schedule a trip to town to seek banking services at a Co-op Bank branch.

You are a farmer delivering milk to clients in the morning? You can conveniently bank at the local grocery who’s a designated Co-op Bank agent.

Running a busy salon and you hardly got time to visit a bank to deposit cash? Visit the Co-op Kwa Jirani agent next door.

It’s really convenient, and safe.

The pickle on the pie is that Co-op Kwa Jirani agents doesn’t exclusively major on Co-op Bank clients only. The services include clients affiliated with Sacco’s, Fethalink and all Kenswitch-affiliated banks.

What are the services you can access at the local agent?

  • Cash Withdrawals – From Co-op Account / SACCO Account / Fethalink)
  • Cash Deposits – To Co-op Account / SACCO Account / Fethalink)
  • Funds Transfer – To Co-op Account / SACCO Account / Fethalink)
  • School/College/ University Fees payments – client can pay via cash or using a Co-op Visa Card)
  • Utility Bills Payment: KPLC bills, Water bills, Cable TV bills, etc.
  • Account balance checks – Co-op Account, Sacco Link account, and KenSwitch affiliated banks)
  • Account mini-statement – Co-op Account, Sacco Link account, and KenSwitch affiliated banks)


Other Payments that Co-op Bank clients can make at a Co-op Kwa Jirani agent include:

  • NHIF Payments
  • County Payments
  • Other Government Payments e.g. KRA

Is there a limit on the amount you can transact with an agent?

This depends on the transaction in question. Here’s are the parameters:

  • Cash deposits – No limit.
  • Cash withdrawals – Ksh 100,000.
  • School fees payments – No limit.

To learn all about Co-op Kwa Jirani visit the online portal, click here. Alternatively, visit the nearest Co-op Bank branch – the bank staff will be ready to sort out any queries.

Thinking of making merry in the village? You can help build local businesses by shopping locally!

This festive season, a lot of changes are bound to happen.

The ravaging global pandemic hasn’t been kind on so many fronts. The social aspect has been chucked out of the window. There won’t be much clubbing, or hanging out.

Travel options are limited. In any case, the economy is still trying to regain foothold, with many corporates and businesses operating on a breadline budget.

However, one option remains open, and many folks are sure to embrace it – the annual festive season pilgrimage to the rural village.

Well, urban dwellers have this dubious reputation.

After spending an entire year unapologetically snubbing the village, city dwellers pick the festive season to swoop down in droves to atone for their absence. To their credit, they do in pomp and style.

There’s the trademark mall-branded shopping bags from the city. In the village, these shopping bags are usually a fashion-statement.

The bags are laden with the usual household goods – a few packets of maize and wheat flour, a can of cooking oil, perhaps a pack or two of the popular Pishori rice… It gets boring pretty fast!

The adventurous urban will throw in a pizza or a couple of hamburgers to confuse their cousins in the village.

Now, here comes the twist.

Once the festive holidays comes to a close, the urban dwellers return to the city laden with twice or thrice the bounty they brought! Yes, it’s a trending joke, but it’s real!

All this is acceptable, after all, home is always best. And, this is what defines best.

What’s mildly not acceptable this year, is shopping in the city for basic household goods, hundreds of kilometers from the village.

I mean, this is the time to build your village. Bring the money to the village. Help support the hustle of your kin trying to make ends meet with businesses in the local market center.

Make a difference in your village with a much-needed influx of income into local businesses. After all, the maize flour on shelves in city malls is the same flour on display at your neighbor’s kiosk. Boost them, they’ll appreciate your presence more.

To enable this, banking is now available on a grassroots level.

Co-op Bank has established a unique grass root banking experience through its Co-op Kwa Jirani model that mirrors banking in conventional banking halls.

At Co-op Kwa Jirani, one can make instant cash withdrawals and deposits from Co-op Bank account, SACCO Account or Fethalink.

It also allows easy funds transfers.

Co-op Kwa Jirani is a convenient and simple banking model that suits your lifestyle and greatly avails convenience.

This festive season, access banking services at your local Co-op Kwa Jirani outlet – and boost your neighbor’s business by shopping locally!

Also Read: https://www.ghafla.com/sponsored/building-your-own-home-from-scratch-versus-purchasing-a-finished-home-from-a-developer-whats-the-wiser-choice/