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Why Nairobi residents have retreated to the villages

Nairobians are on a steady exodus to their villages in droves since the beginning of the second quarter of 2020. The migration to upcountry homes and villages is primarily due to the Covid 19 pandemic that has resulted in difficult economic situations in most homes.

For close to two months, public service vehicles plying routes that exit Nairobi, have been smiling all the way to the bank. They have been overbooked loaded with household goods and personal belongings.

Job losses and failing businesses have affected city dwellers who mostly rely on their daily or monthly income to survive the day to day life of the city.

Some Nairobi residents have moved into smaller homes within the city to cushion them from the uncertainty the pandemic has currently presented. A survey done by Geopoll has, however, shown that most Nairobi residents from low to middle-income areas have moved back to their village homes.

When President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the lift of the intercounty lockdown, most people who had already lost their income, boarded the first bus out of the harsh city life.

Unemployment

Mr Peter Odhiambo, a qualified salesman, moved his small family back to Nyahera, Kisumu county. “It didn’t make sense to keep paying rent in Nairobi without income. I lost my job as a salesman in May, and it only made sense to retreat to the village and rebuild my life” he said.

Mr Odhiambo forms the bulk of jobless Nairobians who cannot afford to pay rent in the city anymore.

The (KNBS) Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reported that the number of jobless Kenyans increased by 5.1 per cent, this is a rise from 435,369 people to 8.53 million within the first three months of 2020.

Lifestyle changes have been factored in all Kenyan households across the country. Families are spending money only on essentials and foodstuff due to the decreased spending power.

The villages have become ground zero for the much-needed fresh start.

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