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The Rough with the Smooth

The Rough with the Smooth

Thuku Kariuki describes the pandemic's impact on freelance journalism and family traditions

COVIDHQ Editorial Squad

As the new father of twin boys, Jimmy and Jason, I am flying high. My wife, Purity, and our son Justin are just as happy and excited as I am. The babies were conceived in the very early days of coronavirus and we worried about the trajectory of the pandemic, considering limited treatment options and the potential danger of visiting a hospital in such a hazardous time. Thankfully, our babies were born without a hitch on January 7, a number that symbolises luck, happiness, renewal, and perfection in the Bible.

As the pandemic wreaks havoc across the world, my wife and I have had to adjust our lifestyles in big and small ways. For instance, under normal circumstances, we would be hosting relatives and friends at home in celebrating the birth of our twins. We have also been forced to stay at home as opposed to going to church on Sundays and cut down on outings, venturing outside the house only for essentials. As such, my family has taken to livestreaming the Sunday service. The pandemic has also heightened my personal responsibility towards protecting my family, and in the last ten months I’ve been a role model of sorts for diligence, washing my hands with soap once I return home and shielding my mouth and nose behind a face mask in public.

Another major adaptation I have made involves rethinking life as a freelance journalist. The lockdown and subsequent disruptions meant I could not get a single paying job for six consecutive months. Traveling from one country to another has become more expensive, forcing many journalists to work closer to home. Restrictions on movement have also limited storytelling in a big way.  As such, I found myself fretting over how I was going to sustain my family without work. Consequently, I ventured into chicken farming as a backup plan. It was an easy business to kickstart since my father's chicken house was available in the village, so all I did was buy a few birds and chicken feed. Growing up, my dad sold eggs and poultry to supplement his teacher’s salary, and years later, things have come full circle with me continuing in my father’s footsteps.

All in all, 2021 looks like a year of mixed fortunes. My first child will begin nursery school later in the year and I’ve resumed work as a journalist. But with covid still looming over the lives of Kenyans, I’m taking it one day at a time with my poultry business and life in general. For me and my household, we will continue observing the health measures while we await the coronavirus vaccine.