How to survive the prolonged cold season
Along the streets of Nairobi , the “how are you” greetings have been replaced with “how are you coping with the cold weather”, while some Kenyans have turned to social media to confess how the cold weather has kept them away from the shower for days.
To others, July has been an awakening moment with the realisation that perhaps it’s time to settle down.
In Kenya, July is the coldest month of the year and according to the Kenya Meteorological Department Assistant Director James Muhindi, the cold season is expected to extend through the month of August and probably September, with some days of sunny intervals.
According to a five-day forecast with a validity from July 21 to 25, Mr Muhindi notes that the central Highlands such as Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Meru, Laikipia, Muran’ga, Kiambu, Nairobi and parts of the Southeast lowlands are expected to be mainly cool and cloudy.
“The Lake Victoria basin, Highlands West of the Rift Valley, Central and South Rift Valley are likely to experience showers and thunderstorms over few places today and tomorrow,” he explained.
However, the Northeastern part of the country is expected to have sunny intervals throughout the next two days.
According to Mr Muhindi, the changes in temperature levels are mainly dependent on the prevailing winds from the South. He notes that although the country is experiencing a cold season, it is not as cold as some years have been.
“Currently, we are at an average of 17.8 degrees Celsius, and we have had some years whereby the temperatures were at 14 degrees Celsius.
In the wake of the cold season, Kenyans have devised ways to brave the cold. To ensure that her children stay warm during this cold season, Lilian Barasa, a Nairobi resident, has bought hot water bottles for them and doubled their blankets.
“To keep the house warm, I bought a heater and I always ensure that the children take hot water from the dispenser. On most evenings, I prepare soup for the family, she says.
Ms Emily Moraa, a tea farmer in Kisii County, has had to wear trousers when going to pick tea, a dress code she abhors.
According to Georgina Achieng of Ace Style, a stylists’ consulting firm, layering is essential for the cold weather.
“It helps to keep the body warm, especially the chest area. You can do this by wearing extra layers such as a vest, T-shirt or thermal top underneath your clothes for extra warmth.
One can also add an extra cardigan, turtle-neck, scarf or jacket on top of your outfit. The layers you wear don’t have to be bulky. If you wear thin but warm clothes, you will still achieve the same goal of keeping warm,” she notes.
“Some of the essential items that will keep you extra warm this cold season include woollen scarves, gloves, warm socks, boots, and even hats when you’re out and about on the weekend,” she adds.
Ms Kate Ndung’u, popularly known as Kate WA Gladys, is a home cook, caterer and food enthusiast.
She advises that during this cold season, it is best to take spicy foods and soups as they help to warm up the body.
“Some soups such as butternut can help keep the cold at bay, and it is very easy to make. To prepare, melt some butter in a pan and add some chopped garlic and ginger. Then add chopped carrots and the sliced butternut. Add water and let it boil until the butternut is well cooked. The last step is to blend the mixture. If it is too thick, you can add some water as you blend,” she explains.
“Taking lemon honey tea is also healthy and instantly warms your body.” Mr Muhindi discourages enclosing oneself in a room that is poorly ventilated while using a jiko as inhaling carbon monoxide can lead to death.