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When his mother informed us about Eric’s love for baking, we immediately wanted him to share his story with us. Mrs Wanjiku Wambugu told us that we could speak to the young boy directly. He handles his own business, she said. Talk about this kind of independence at a tender age of 12! How impressive!

We got in touch with Eric. We agreed for an interview that was to take place few days later. He set up a video meeting but we had to change to a different model.

Eric is a budding pastry chef from Mombasa. When you follow him on social media, you will see the many cakes among other pastries which his clients shared. He is so passionate about it that he bakes every day.

Photo courtesy of Eric Wambugu

NAFSI How did you start learning how to bake?

ERIC I got the interested in it when I was five years old watching my mother bake cake. I would go on to learn on YouTube. That was quite hard for me. I went to do three courses at Valentine Cake House in 2018. I wanted to learn new things. Here I am now. Over the years I have been able to make cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, doughnuts, mahamri, layered cakes, pizza, and carrot, marble and vanilla cakes.

NAFSI Do you have any special ingredient that you use in your craft?

ERIC I do not have a special ingredient. I use the traditional creaming method. All I need is to make the base of the cake connsisting of margarine, flour and sugar. Once I make that I can choose any flavour whether it is orange, vanilla, and so on. When it comes for decoration, I use thick whipping cream. I avoid butter cream completely.

Photo courtesy of Eric

NAFSI It is interesting that this is your passion and business. How is the business at this time?

ERIC I have been selling cakes since 2018 when I was doing my course. I did not sell as many as I had hoped to since school was taking most of my time. But now that I am at home, I have been able to bake and convince people to buy. I bake every day. There are customers who are afraid of giving me big orders since I am young. Some would order from me and from someone else so that in case I do not deliver, they have a back-up plan. I always deliver.

I have had so much time on my hands now that I learned how to bake blackforest and whiteforest cakes, and brownies. I go through websites. I read cookbooks. I bake.

NAFSI Do you follow a health conscious baking or you are all about sweet treats?

ERIC I reduce the amount of sugar I put in my cakes. There is already sugar from the cream. Since I am in an Indian school and the community do not eat eggs, it was a challenge learning to bake without eggs. I have experimented a lot of times trying to find a perfect recipe for an eggless cake.

NAFSI How have your parents supported you through this journey?

ERIC My mother started all of this. She is the one who encouraged me to begin baking. My father is not a fan of cake but he has been able to support me financially. Both my parents support me financially and emotionally. There have been days when I have faced disappointment and they have been there motivating me to grow through it. My food critics are my brothers.

Photo courtesy of Eric

NAFSI What is the biggest lesson baking has taught you?

ERIC It is a skill that I have. When I follow a recipe and it does not turn out good, there are many more different recipes to follow. I can look at the internet right at this moment and see the many other recipes to explore. When a cake does not come out as good as I hoped it to, I can still make a great cake next time.

If you have ever wanted to experience an art exhibition but for one reason or another that is yet to happen, then that has been made possible from wherever you are. You can now get lost in exhibitions from around the world.

And the first art and photo virtual exhibition to be witnessed in Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic is taking place now. Visual artists and photographers are documenting the current times surrounding Covid-19 for the digital exhibition. Picha Images are the organizers of the exhibition.

Since most art galleries are closed from the public at these times, the creative industry is sharing more of their work online. More people are now able to interact with art, whether that is in live concerts, song releases, and now an art exhibition.

We share some of the images that are compiled by Picha Images for Africa Covid Exhibition. You could check the many others using the hashtag #africacovidexhibition and on their website africacovidexhibition.com

Visual artists and photographers can continue to submit their works on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram before June 6 using the hashtag.

Image courtesy: Samod Wilson @paintingonpurpose

The piece above by Samod Wilson from the US explores the desire of children to go and play outside as they would normally do before the pandemic hit.

It is a reality for many parents now who are trying to explain to their children why they should stay inside the house. Children may also not be fully aware of the situation. And they seek answers from parents who are not certain when it is safe for them to go outside.

Image courtesy: Michael Soi @michaelsoistudio

If you have ever stepped outside your home even once or watched the news, you have certainly see some people wearing their masks wrong.

There have been concerns that wearing masks for a prolonged period of time can have other effects especially for children and anyone who has breathing problems. That aside, celebrated painter Kenyan painter Michael Soi expresses his worry for those who can wear masks but choose to do so wrongly to be cool.

By now you must have known that masks prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Image courtesy: Machira @artofmachira

Kenyan illustrator known by the single name Machira explores parts of the fashion, identity and culture of the African people. The lady is seen wearing an African print mask and African jewelry.

Many people in Kenya are going for masks that are in full African colours and fabrics.

Image courtesy: Tito Onodera, Teddy Shakes, Moha Freeman, Mchula Art, Nuru, Shee, Dankiz.

This is a mural art by artists from Mombasa. Tito Onodera, Teddy Shakes, Moha Freeman, Mchula Art, Nuru, Shee and Dankiz took to a wall in Mombasa to celebrate the healthcare workers.

They have been at the forefront in fighting the pandemic. They risk their lives while saving those of others. They continue to spend days and nights taking care of patients.

Image courtesy: Peter Mwangangi @pitah_m

The world has seen a new normal. There has been lockdowns, companies adopting work-from-home lifestyle, increased online shopping, and so on. In one way or another we have all had to adjust.

Image courtesy: Peter Mwangangi @pitah_m

Peter’s artwork smartly expresses that the best thing we can do for those we love is by following the directives put in place by the government. Wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, sanitizing and washing hands show that we care for ourselves and for others.

Image courtesy: Kesh Nthamba @kenyan_francophone

“Awareness in most informal settlement areas is still a great challenge. But two Kenyan organizations (Art 360 degrees and Foundation of hope) came together to craft public awareness on the Covid-19 pandemic with murals,” explained Africa Covid Exhibition on their page.

The main distinctive quality between ambiversion, introversion and extroversion is how people who fall into these personality types recharge.

Introverts gain energy by spending time alone for a good amount of time. They can be in social situations but they easily get overwhelmed and their energy gets drained. And they will need to retreat to solitude to their restore energy.    

Ambiverts can be both, depending on their mood and the amount of time they have lived either of the two unique experiences. While it is a good balance, sometimes it is difficult for an ambivert to know what their soul needs. And paying attention to one of these needs while foregoing another could lead them feeling overwhelmed or underwhelmed.

And extroverts, the social butterflies as they are called, get energy when they are around people for a long period of time. They become livelier and inspired while their energy levels deflate when they are alone.

As we practice social distancing, say, you are an extrovert, how can you gain energy during this time?

Walk around your neighbourhood

Photo courtesy of Gillian Owino

While practicing physical distancing, go on a walk, a jog or a stroll in your neighbourhood. Sitting outside to feel the sun as you hear people going on about their businesses could also uplift your spirit.

Host a virtual get-together with friends

Plan a virtual contest where you can engage in an activity you enjoy. A movie marathon. A dance party. A baking contest. A cooking party. Record videos of what you are doing and send to one another. Anything that you and your friends can participate in from different locations.

Call your family, friends and colleagues. Also, catching up on what others have been up to has a chance of keeping you recharged. Long phone calls with each one of them can uplift your spirit.

Pursue a solo hobby

Photo by Francis Odhiambo who pursues mobile photography while social distancing/ courtesy

Contrary to popular belief, extroverts can spend time alone. It is only that they enjoy the presence of other people more than being alone. There is plenty of time now to learn a new skill and pursue your favourite hobbies. Some of the activities include baking, cooking, home decor, knitting, learning a new language. Or pursue an online course which are mostly free now.

Reconnect with yourself during this time. As one of my good friends said, this can be the time for all of us to rest, reflect and reset.

Open the windows

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

Ventilating our homes is crucial for our health. Also, letting in fresh air and light into your space could make you feel more alive. You could also hear the outside world, look outside the window, and possibly remind that we are all in this together.

Watch YouTube videos

Well, we definitely know that YouTube has a variety of content. From music videos, travel vlogs, comedy shows, talk shows, lifestyle shows, and so on, there is something for everyone.You can now actually ‘attend’ a concert you have dreamed of through your phone.

Bring the outdoors inside your home

Photo by Verena Yunita Yapi on Unsplash

Make your home as outdoor-inspiring as you possibly can by bring some aspects of the outdoors inside your home. Have outdoor cues within your reach to display in your home like gallery wall of photos and postcards, getting a plant, use outdoor scents or play outdoor sounds.

View Instagram Live videos

You can now actually ‘attend’ a concert you have dreamed of through your phone.

Instagram Live is a good source of entertainment. It allows a magnitude of people to connect and have fun. So far, DJ D-Nice, Sauti Sol, and DJ Stylez among others have entertained people live.

Many other personalities in Kenya and in other parts of the world are doing live workout videos, dance videos, cooking videos, and singing challenges which you can jump on.

Dress up as if you are outside

Photo courtesy of Gillian Owino

Staying indoors does not mean any of us has to look drab. If you are into make-up, get into it. Make your own hair, do your own manicure, wear what that makes you feel rejuvenated.

Relieve your exciting past

Look at old pictures in your photo album or phone gallery. Re-watch videos you took when you were out and about. Relieving the memories may help you recharge.

We would love to know, how do you stay social while social distancing?

It has become relatively cold in the evening in the past few days. Itchy throat, flu and blocked nose are common symptoms for those with allergies and colds. If you are experiencing this, there are types of tea you can make on your home to cure it. Nonetheless, we encourage you to consult with a medical professional if it persists.

The tea recipes are nearly all the same; washing the spices, grounding them and putting them into a saucepan of boiling water, lowering the heat and sieve when you serve. It is important to note that the smell of these teas have healing effects. Also, it is preferable to use ingredients in their natural forms instead of powdered spices to get the most of their nutritional value. Avoid peeling their skins too.

Before we forget, you can drink these teas in advance to prevent a cold or flu. Now here are some of the teas you can make at home to treat common cold and flu.

Turmeric Ginger Tea

Photo by Anjellah Owino for Nafsi

Turmeric, ginger and lemon are all superfoods. Turmeric and ginger contain a high amount of antioxidants and antibacterial properties which relieve sore throat and cure the flu or cold. Lemons are full of Vitamin C which boosts immunity and thus helps the body fight the cold or flu. Inhaling its smell is a form of treatment.

Ginger Cinnamon Tea

Photo by Hilary Hahn on Unsplash

Indeed there are many variations to explore when it comes to preparing tea. If you want to add a different flavor to your tea, you can opt for cinnamon. It is not only has aromatic benefits, but cinnamon also has many antioxidants which protects one from diseases and it is known to reduce inflammation.

Lemon Tea

Photo by Anda Ambrosini on Unsplash

Lemon is definitely a go-to fruit when it comes to curing flu and cold. Add honey and ginger for their natural favor and nutrients. Honey can help suppress coughs and heals sore throat. Inhale its smell when its hot to get these benefits too. You can serve hot and still drink when it cools.

Cayenne Pepper Tea

Photo by Anjellah Owino for Nafsi

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which relieves cough and flu symptoms, soothes sore throat, and protects the nervous system. You can add vinegar, ginger or honey in your tea for sweeter taste and more nutrients. You will start feeling better almost immediately.

Chamomile Tea

Photo by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash

Chamomile tea can cure flu and fever. It smell relieves stress, relaxes the mind and it can sooth you to sleep, a thing which proves to be very difficult for a person battling flu.

Green Tea

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

It is packaged as tiny green tea leaves in tea bags. Its benefits are, however, huge. This tea boosts immunity, has antioxidants too which protects one from diseases, and it may alleviate flu symptoms.

You can add ginger and lemon too. The good thing about green tea or any of these teas really is that you can serve this while hot and still go on drinking it when it cools.

Peppermint Tea

Photo by Mareefe from Pexels

Peppermint has a strong smell which can help clear the nostrils. It reduces fever, coughs and throat infections. It also boosts the immune system and thus it is one of the best teas for fighting the cold or flu. Ingredients which go well with this tea are lemon and honey.

While we have confidence with all of these teas, we still encourage you to seek medical assistance if flu becomes persistent.

“Teaching kids about money is never just about money.” – Author Dave Ramsey.

CJ Ogolla, e-Resource Africa Network (e-RAN) director, explains as a reward, children are mostly given money which they spend on confectioneries immediately. This is one of the most common interaction children have had with money and then they are likely to keep asking for money to buy sweets. While he supports the idea of treating children, he is concerned that this experience teaches children that money is to be spent on as soon as they receive them, and money should be handed to them as soon as they ask. The idea of working for, saving or budgeting for money is yet to be experienced. And unfortunately, the saving culture has been reported to be low. How then can we also educate children about money?

“Saving is simple but the problem is that we wait for a large amount of money so that we can start saving. As we wait, we spend. Spending is infinity. We can never run out of ways to spend money. We can therefore regulate that by teaching children about the need to save,” he says. e-RAN sells children’s piggy banks as part of their mission of instilling financial literacy. CJ explains the values children can learn from keeping savings jar or piggy bank.

Self-discipline

Habitual saving of money instead of getting instant fulfillment out of spending it makes them more financially discplined. You can give them the freedom to take some amount of money from their savings when they need to buy things they want, invest or give out to charity. Also, encourage continous saving even as they use money from their piggy bank or savings jar.

Financial literacy

Equipping children early on with money management skills has a great potential of allowing them to make effective financial decisions later in their adulthood.

Since money management was neither taught at home nor in school, CJ states that there are many people from diverse professions struggling to manage personal finances in adulthood. As adults, a lot of unlearning and relearning has to take place to get better at handling money. If you are a parent and this has crossed your attention now, it is fine. It is never too late nor too early to teach children or oneself about money.

Planning and patience

Children learn to be patient as they watch their money grow. They also learn how to plan for the money they have keep in their piggy banks. CJ suggests that giving children the option to save some of the things they want for themselves, teaches them to avoid impulse buying. We then have children prioritizing their needs and wants.

Collaboration

Parents work with children to be financially literate. Some of the activities to do together are involving them in planning the household budget, allowing children to decide how they are going to use their own money, encouraging them when they make poor money choices, and sending them to the shop to buy items.

Sense of responsibility

Maintaining a habit to save builds conscious thoughts and actions around money. It teaches children on the value of money. For instance, if you have chidren earn by doing extra tasks around the house, you instill the essence of working hard for money and helps them to be more responsible with their money.

What is that one money lesson you hope children can learn?

By now you have probably watched Sauti Sol’s new song, “Suzanna”, released earlier today. It is a fresh single off the band’s upcoming album “Midnight Train”. This album is to be released after signing a new recording deal with Universal Music Africa.

“Suzanna” is a love ballad to a young lady who has enhanced body features and changed her skin complexion. The song pleads with her to leave the fast life and come back home, uniquely sharing the message of self-acceptance that has been voiced through music in recent times.

Photo courtesy: Sauti Sol

The video opens with revellers outside a club. Some of them walk inside. We then meet the band on stage performing this song and then leads us to scenes in an old street and finally to a photo session. The piece takes us back to the 70s and 80s disco fashion of colourful clothes, long plaid pants, and afro and perm hair for men.

Photo courtesy: Sauti Sol

“Suzanna” is a catchy feel-good song with witty, memorable lyrics. Also, it displays the band’s distinctive style of traditional melodies and visual concept, complementing that with contemporary lifestyle, while addressing present societal issues.

The song is currently trending on YouTube and has leading at Apple’s playlist, “AfricaNow”. These are some of the responses you shared on social media platforms:

@Charles Wahinya #SautiSolSuzanna track will be the anthem of every media station, every matatu and every playlist. Talented people those ones.

@Sememshairi254 Something great. Something hit. They never disappoint. #SautiSolSuzanna.

@ItsOrapak This group is loved by many due to the quality of the songs they release.

Dianna Achando Sauti Sol is black excellence personified. AMAZING looks.

Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFBJtuQ1Llc

If you are waiting for a perfect time to live abundantly, what if we tell you that this very moment is ideal?

We have been conditioned to think that we need to attain something great to be worthy of abundance. What if you are told that you can start doing so right away? As it has been made to look, abundance is not a destination but an endless journey. It is a conscious choice to recognize that you have everything that you need at all times, and in plenty.

Author of “The Secret” Rhonda Byrne puts emphasis on the need to foster a culture of gratitude and giving to create abundance. By practicing the two, you are instantly tuned into the flow of abundance and thus you attract more of what you want in life.

This belief system was reaffirmed by Centonomy founder Waceke Nduati and Africa Uncensored CEO & co-founder John Allan Namu at Centonomy’s open day held this past Saturday in Nairobi. The event, focusing on financial abundance, set off reflections about money. The two speakers described it as a conviction that there are opportunities of wealth creation and that what you have right now is sufficient even as you make steps to improve your finances.

Hold positive thoughts about money

John-Allan recollected how painful it was to him to see his widowed mother struggle to pay for his high school education. It changed how he viewed money. As an adult, John-Allan recently enrolled into Centonomy’s personal financial management course. As much as he followed everything he learned in class, he was unable to live abundantly.

“I grew up being scared of debt. I would do anything to get out of debt including taking more debt,” he disclosed.

Accepting that it was a difficult process, the award-winning investigative journalist told the audience that he has conquered his fear just the other day by shifting his mindset. There were five other speakers who shared their journeys at the event. They offered these tips to financial abundance.

Write down your vision and goals in BIG LETTERS

Having your financial goals in capital letters and setting clear deadlines can give you optimum focus. You can then break them down into small daily goals. You can also establish prudent money habits such as accounting for the money you spend using money management apps, having a meal plan, cutting down on expenses, avoiding impulse buying, digging through the most profitable investment and saving options available, and so on.

Maximize on opportunities

If you intently look around, you will see that there are opportunities around you that can help you grow your income. Focus on your strengths, talents and gifts. Seeing what you have right now is empowering. See the opportunities within your reach and stretch your hand even further.

Author and founder of Living Effectively Mentorship Program, Douglas Waudo, encouraged the audience to also implement new ideas of wealth creation.

Be willing to make sacrifices

Media personality and author of “My First Time” Janet Mbugua narrated her story of how she had to make several sacrifices years ago so that she could own a piece of land within a period of six months. One of the decisions were saying no to engagements that needed her to reach for her wallet.

“Sacrifice. Something has got to give to reach any goal. Make peace with those who will not understand the season you are in. I have had to cut back on attending events and cut off some friendships for me to be able to save,” she said.

Other sacrifices mentioned at the event were carrying your own food to work, sticking to a budget, cutting back on unnecessary expenses and grooming yourself at home. The other speakers included s creenwriter, content creator and singer Wanjiru Thiong’o, influencer manager Vanessa Ndinda, and Elsie Akoo, a nutritionist.  

Emotional overwhelm is the state of an intense flooding of a feeling, thought or physical sensation which you find extremely difficult to control. Mind, body and spirit is overpowered, imprisoned by it. Increased heartbeat, struggle in breathing, difficulty in sleeping, lack of focus, headache and low productivity are some of the signs.

While we can experience emotional excitement overload, which bears a bit of resemblance to overwhelm of unpleasant emotions, we shine a light on the latter today. And while anyone can undergo emotional overwhelm, it is a constant battle for a highly sensitive person (HSP) . The reason is that HSPs absorb external stimuli and process information deeply. What may seem unimportant to others is experienced to an extreme degree by HSPs.

How do you lessen instances of emotional overwhelm?

It takes an intentional and continuous effort to do so, especially for HSPs. Still, there will be instances brought about by plenty of responsibilities, expectations or situations which will leave you overstimulated if you are a HSP. With that said, here are steps to take to reduce an occurrence of an overwhelm.

Know your emotional triggers

Be aware of what activates your triggers to help manage yourself when situations arise. The triggers could include a pile of work, a forthcoming presentation, conversation, and so on.

Psychology experts advise coming up with a plan beforehand to get yourself out of it. Have a personal mantra ready to help you lessen the possibility of an emotional flooding when faced by a trigger.

Author of The Seat of the Soul and spiritual teacher Gary Zukav believes that being aware of the origin of your emotions is the first step to opening your heart to compassion. He goes on to say that whenever you experience undesirable emotions, you can act on them from a place of love instead of fear. For example, gratitude and calmness comes from a place of love while panic and worry is from a place of fear.

It rarely helps to fight off unpleasant emotions. Acknowledging them, seeing the important messages they carry, and letting the pass through without a battle puts you in a better place. As the quote goes, “the feeling you want to feel is waiting on the other side of the feeling you don’t like.”

Cater to your emotional needs

Take a good chunk of your time to pay attention to your mind, body and spirit. You can do this by going to places of nature, listening to calming music, getting enough sleep, surrounding yourself with dear ones, keeping track of your thoughts and feelings by journaling and meditating.

If you easily face emotional exhaustion constantly, you need a lot of solitary time to center yourself and, ultimately, to thrive.

Simplify your life

Although it is hard but necessary, there are some days in which journalist and rapper Graham Kajilwa ignores certain phone calls or texts whose conversations will leave him emotionally overwhelmed.

“I postpone having specific conversations when I am not ready. I would have to politely decline social invitations too. Sometimes people do not understand that is what I truly need at the time. When I am in a good space emotionally, I can fully show up for others,” explains Graham.

Other steps to simplify your life is by taking only what you can accomplish at a given time. Plan ahead, prioritize tasks, learn to say no and ask for help when you have a lot on your plate, and pat yourself in the back when you make any form of progress.

Our friends over at TheEfficientWoman recently informed us about dopamine fasting here http://theefficientwoman.co.ke/2019/11/26/have-you-tried-the-dopamine-fast/.  It is an intentional decision to forego things you love to have a sense of grounding and clarity. You can go for this too.

Lastly, we recommend seeing a therapist to walk this journey with you if you are frequently overwhelmed.

Say, journaling has crossed your mind as 2019 sets into the horizon. You get a journal at a bookstore. You look at it every day, thinking about what it is you are going to record as your first entry. Days fly by, you nearly forget about it. There are days when you open it, hardly jot down anything, close it and look at the page days later. Where do you start? How do you make it a practice?

This is the story of many journaling beginners.

How do you spend your time reading?

Reception rooms, traffic jams, queue areas, restaurants before a date arrives are some of the popular places to crack a book. While it is commendable to always carry a book to devour in your spare time, it can be ideal too to schedule in a good amount of your time just to read. If you view getting lost in a book as an elemental part of our self-care regimen, what is better than to jazz up your reading experience?