It’s business unusual in chilly Nyeri
Climatologists say the extremely cold weather dropping to lows of 11°Celsius at night, fog and drizzles occurring in most parts of the country, will last for seven days.
It is around 7.20 am and most people in Nyeri are in a hurry to reach their workplaces on time.
One thing is conspicuous; everyone is heavily dressed to keep warm against the chilly conditions.
Apart from struggling with the current high cost of living, residents have to make ends meet despite the punitive weather.
But a spot check in Nyeri town revealed that the weather is a windfall for some residents. Andrew Mwangi, a boutique owner, says his business is doing well due to the current high demand for warm clothing.
“I specialise in selling trench coats and jackets, which are vital during cold seasons, hence in high demand. The current price of a trench coat ranges from Sh1,500 to Sh3,000, depending on the quality.
Jackets cost Sh900 to Sh1,200 depending on the size, as they are of the same texture. But the prices are not fixed, leaving room for haggling,” says Mwangi.
He further notes that despite the increased prices, owing to the current inflation, many clients are streaming to his boutique. This has greatly boosted his business.
“Since the cost of living took an upward trajectory, I thought there would be very few clients as many Kenyans are prioritizing their immediate needs. My suppliers increased the cost of stock, which translated to the current prices. However, I am grateful that there are many customers,” he says.
Beth Njagi, a trader at Kamakwa trading centre, opines that the damp weather motivated her to add umbrellas and gumboots to her stock.
She states that her living standards have improved impressively due to good sales, thanks to the current high demand by Kamakwa residents, most of whom are farmers.
“A month ago, I traded in household items only. Then this cold season started. I noted that most of my friends from Kamakwa were travelling to Nyeri town to buy umbrellas. That is when the idea of selling different items popped up in my mind. I did not hesitate to also deal in gumboots.
“Currently, gumboots are selling at Sh600 for medium duty boots and Sh1,000 for heavy duty types, while umbrellas are selling at Sh790 and Sh1,200 for the big ones. The prices have gone up but I am trying to make them more affordable to my clients,” says Njagi.
A coffee vendor in Nyeri town says that despite being an unemployed university graduate, she is still able to put food on the table as her business is booming. She adds that the next government should look for ways of cushioning graduates as they seek employment.
“I never imagined I could thrive in this business. I am excited about this venture as I am able to sustain myself and my little sister. Coffee is very good at warming up the body during the cold season.
No formal job
“At first, I was very depressed because of the mentality that graduating from university is an automatic gateway to a formal job. I have learnt that we ought to be courageous, determined and open-minded to try out various alternatives instead of indulging in drugs and other criminal acts. Intervention by the government in youth welfare is also crucial,” she notes.
On July 20 this year, the Nyeri Emergency Medical Services warned drivers and boda boda riders to be extra vigilant when driving in foggy weather due to blurred vision.
One reason for the frigid temperatures being experienced is the high topography of Nyeri.
Recent weather forecasts from the office of the County Director of Meteorological Services predict rainfall and cloudy conditions for the next six days, with temperatures ranging between 19 degrees centigrade and 11 degrees centigrade.