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Celebrating Covid-19 pandemic heroes

By Nailantei Norari
Saturday, August 1st, 2020
Always in a mask. Photo/File

The coronavirus pandemic has spun a crisis around the world, but it has also shone a light on the bright side of humanity. As people of all nations have come together against a common enemy, champions have been defined not by their rank in society, but by their actions. NAILANTEI NORARI writes

It is easy to feel disheartened as there seems to be no slowing down of the coronavirus spread. 

Measures that governments are putting in place can add to the stress and anxiety as seen by the thousands of Kenyans lamenting the ban of alcoholic drinks in restaurants and eateries and  more, who have been rendered jobless by the virus. 

But as the bleak news of rising infections and coronavirus related deaths dominate the headlines, there are do-gooders and mobilisers, who have come out during the calamity to stand by their country through the windstorm. 

The pandemic has highlighted how innately good humans are, with many going over and beyond what is expected of them to cheer up a neighbour and even provide supplies to those who need it.

From whole neighbourhoods singing happy birthday to medics departing for duty, to restaurants  cooking meals and giving them out for free, there has never been more kindness in the world than there is now. 

Wikendi this week recognises world citizens, who have gone above and beyond to answer a call for help through different brave acts of kindness and  sensitisation campaigns.

While this list may not include nurses, doctors and policemen, who indeed are the vanguard in this fight against the ravaging virus, it goes without saying that they are the real heroes and we laud them too.

We hope the good that these humans are doing lights up your weekend.

A 350KM RUN FOR GOOD

Two months ago, when endurance athlete Corey Cappelloni learnt that his 98-year-old grandmother, Ruth Andres, was ailing from Covid-19 at her nursing home, he was devastated. 

His daily calls and weekly gifts  to his ‘nana’ did not help his grandmother, who became more afraid.

Running for food.

Medical officers said she was getting depressed, so he decided to go  see her, by literally running from his home in Washington DC in the United States to her nursing home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, about 354 kilometres away. 

He would do an ultra-marathon to raise money and raise awareness about residents and caregivers in those facilities and honouring those lost to the virus, including his great-uncle, who died in May. 

He contacted the nursing home and mapped out a route and ‘Run for Ruth’ was born. 

The run would take him seven days to finish and catch a glimpse of his grandmother from her nursing home window. He also raised Sh2.5million ($24,000) in the process.

Food for needy children

Food has been the major source of worry and concern for many Kenyans, as the control measures and contracting economy have reduced the wallet share for food.

In the frontlines, ensuring vulnerable children and their families stay fed is Wawira Njiru, founder of Food for Education, an organisation that provides high quality, nutritious meals to pupils in Kenyan public primary schools to improve their nutrition and education outcomes.

Food for needy children. Inset Wawira Njiru.

She started the initiative in 2012 by providing 25 children with lunch from her pocket and has fed millions of vulnerable children to date.

With schools closed indefinitely, Wawira did not stop reaching out to the children.

She still ensures that the children registered in the programme are fed by providing their parents with dry foods to be cooked and enjoyed by the entire family. 

RENT WAIVING LANDLORDS

William Muriithi, the owner of Wilbur House in Nakuru made headlines when he waived rent for two months for his tenants.

This move was lauded as altruistic as it allowed his tenants to  use monies they had before the pandemic hit to cushion themselves.

Another landlord Michael Munene, the owner of Parkway Dot.Com House in Kinangop, Nyandarua county extended a two-month rent relief he had issued earlier to one more month.

“I arrived at the decision to waive my tenants’ rent after evaluating the current economic situation of the country,” he said in an interview.

He also set aside a unit in his apartment, which he uses as a food store where his tenants can access when life becomes more unbearable.

He asked his residents to fill the store with foodstuff, while he provided the rest of the food.

These two landlords and more, are the face of humanity, the few people, who are able to put human wellbeing first before profits.

THE POLICE TAILOR

Caroline Makena, a 29-year-old policewoman who joined the police force in 2015 decided to sew masks instead of  apprehending those found not wearing one. 

She said that she was compelled to produce the masks after discovering that locals were not putting them on despite insistence by the Ministry of Health that the masks were critical in protection against Covid-19 infection.

She opted to juggle her policing work with that of sewing masks and doling them out for free to her fellow officers and residents near Tot police station in Baringo county where she works.

100-year-old walks 100 LAPS to raise sh4.6 billion

Army man Captain Tom Moore from England became the United Kingdom’s 100-year-old hero by raising more than £33 million, the equivalent of Sh4.6 billion to support health workers by walking 100 laps for charity in his garden. 

Moore started the fundraising campaign where he aimed to fundraise just a £1,000  (Sh140,000) before his hundredth birthday. 

He would raise the money within two days with the donations rolling in millions and far surpassing his target. 

100-year-old walks 100 LAPS to raise sh4.6 billion

On the final lap day, he appeared decked in his military gear with a military guard of honour and his family cheering him on. 

The money raised by the military man who stuck to his goal despite a recent hip replacement is meant for varying Nation Health Service charities.  

He was awarded the honorary title of colonel on his birthday. He would also be knighted by the queen on July 17, in a private ceremony. 

Captain Sir Tom Moore showed the world that you can do anything at whatever age and even in the middle of a pandemic.

THE POLICE TAILOR

Caroline Makena, a 29-year-old policewoman who joined the police force in 2015 decided to sew masks instead of  apprehending those found not wearing one. 

She said that she was compelled to produce the masks after discovering that locals were not putting them on despite insistence by the Ministry of Health that the masks were critical in protection against Covid-19 infection.

Caroline Makena, 29, decided to sew masks instead of apprehending those found not wearing one.

She opted to juggle her policing work with that of sewing masks and doling them out for free to her fellow officers and residents near Tot police station in Baringo county where she works.

A CUP OF UJI A DAY

In true Kenya for Kenyans spirit, Francis Amonde has been fundraising and buying care packages for families that are in need during this pandemic.

Francis runs A Cup of Uji initiative, which is aimed at ensuring that children have something to run on even as they learn in school.

The initiative that was started in 2017, gives school going children a cup of uji every day.

With the schools closed, Francis started the #beniceke movement, where he fundraises and buys food packages for families in need.

His is a true example of what it means to stand in the gap even as times change and the economy takes a turn for the worst.

If you would like to donate, just send whatever amount you are able to part with to the paybill number 891300 and account number, HOPE. 

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