The High Cost of Living Is a Growing Headache for Kenyans

By Habiba Wakio

Faith picked up the shopping basket and began walking around the supermarket, looking at the prices of the commodities. The prices had fluctuated. She was disheartened. Would she purchase anything? She began comparing the prices of similar items from different manufacturers or distributors and settled for the one that was less expensive. She only bought one packet of maize flour. Her elder sister had brought her some cereals from their village. She had gone to the posho mill to get ground flour, which only lasted for a month. Her family had to get used to black tea without sugar. She considered milk and sugar to be luxuries. Soon she would be boiling or steaming her food instead of frying it.Her expenses were increasing, yet her salary was becoming less due to all the deductions. These days, she was going to work on foot since she could not even afford the fare. Her children needed to pay school fees. One girl was in pre-primary two (PP2), a boy was in seventh grade, and the eldest daughter was done with high school. The university fees were no longer affordable, having risen so high. Her daughter had applied for a scholarship. She was praying for it to be granted because there seemed to be no other option.

Her plan for the following year was to enroll her children in public schools. The one in seventh grade demanded a lot, and Faith was afraid that she would not manage in the end. Apart from fees, her son required items for the subject practicals. Occasionally, Agriculture Lesson demanded eggs (which she had stopped buying the minute the price went up from Sh15 per egg) and a chicken, which she didn’t rear. Other times, the home science teacher asked for fish, rice, vegetables, charcoal, baking ingredients such as eggs, sugar, wheat flour, cooking fat, and so on.

Faith did not include some items in her home budget, but she had to get them for the school projects. Otherwise, she would be failing her child. Although her lastborn was still very young, she felt the need to admit her to a public school due to the introduction of a feeding program that aimed at providing students with a nutritious meal at a lower price. A student had to pay sh15 for lunch and sh10 for porridge at break. That way, most learners would remain in school instead of walking a long distance to their homes during lunch, thus managing time and avoiding accidents or any undesirable incidents during that time.

Faith hoped that life would go back to normal really soon because it was becoming unbearable. As the cost goes up, so should the citizen’s earnings. Otherwise, there is no balance.

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