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Sh2.5m treehouse in Loresho – Business Daily

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Design & Interiors

Sh2.5m treehouse in Loresho


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The treehouse bedroom with a fireplace. PHOTO | WENDY WATTA

The first treehouse that Paul Simkim ever built was for his children. The second is the Nairobi Dawn Chorus, now at his backyard in Loresho. Perched high amidst towering trees within a wild lush green valley overlooking a river, it has become a minimalist retreat for Kenyans looking for a different kind of escape.

Being here, one feels secluded and removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is as beguiling as it is playful, the stuff childhood fantasies are made of.

“My children’s treehouse was for fun and escape. It however kept falling apart,” says Paul.

For the second one, he improved it, spending about Sh2.5 million in building costs. Construction of the treehouse started at the end of August last year, and it took around a week to come up with the design, which Paul worked on with his daughter Tana.

They then sat with a builder, Thor Karstad, and went through models and dimensions with him, before settling on the final version. The house itself took eight weeks to construct.

Walking into the compound, one would not even spot the treehouse from the main entrance.

There is a large garden as well as a swimming pool which are both accessible for guest use, but we ended up staying tucked within the folds of the house for the entire duration of our stay.

The treehouse is one-bedroom and the design is open plan; the entire space customised to take advantage of the postcard-perfect view.

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The treehouse dining table. PHOTO | WENDY WATTA

Guests walk in through the main door into the kitchen which leads out to a large wooden platform with plenty of lounging areas such as a comfortable swinging chair, dining table and around a pan fireplace. The double room also looks out onto the deck.

“We kept it as simple as possible. One of the first rules was that we couldn’t cut down any trees, so we had to find a befitting space that would allow for the structure,” says Paul.

“We went with a simple iron frame, a mabati roof and marine boards in the flooring and walls, so it was very simple and relatively low cost.”

The double bedroom also opens out to the wooden platform and the view. There is a fireplace for the chilly evenings. A small living area with two chairs is set in front of the fireplace, and on one end of the wall is a working area with a couple of books should you want to pore through one.

The decor was done by Tana, and the beds and furniture were made from a tree that fell into the garden. While there is a canvas tent that can be rolled down in the evenings, we were advised to just leave it wide open and slept perfectly fine.

“The safari tent should be enclosed to cover the front of the bedroom, but that hasn’t worked well because it’s been hard to close and there’s a fireplace right in front of it. Most guests have preferred to just leave it open,” says Paul.

At dawn, you wake up to a beautiful chorus of birds, explaining the name of the treehouse.

Charges

He has listed it on Airbnb for an average of Sh12,500, and the reception has been great.

Most guests have been Kenyans from Nairobi going for staycations, with a few international ones. It is a romantic space that sleeps only two. There is even an outdoor freestanding bathtub on the deck, perfect for soaking early in the morning or under the stars at night.

The bathroom is also open with a rainshower and a beautiful mirror with elephants and palm trees carved into its wooden frame.

A few art pieces by Kenyan painter George Ongeri hang on the walls and are offered for sale, with listings at about Sh45,000.

“We thought it would be a nice way to promote his artwork and get people to buy it. Most people have just ended up visiting his studio which is close by as a result. He is an ex-banker and a very fun character to be around.”

Paul’s next project is to build a houseboat in Kilifi or Naivasha with the same open-plan design.

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months


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A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya Airways will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
  • The airline in a notice to its customers yesterday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.

The airline in a notice to its customers Monday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

The airline will then resume full operations on the route on September 20, flying three times per week on the Indian route, which is one of the most lucrative destinations on its network.

Passengers on the route will part with Sh46,000 ($419) for one-way air ticket on economy class seats from Nairobi to Mumbai- prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Welcome back onboard! Fly from Nairobi to Mumbai starting Thursday 16th September with normal schedules resuming from Monday 20th September 2021,” said the airline in a notice to its customers yesterday.

KQ Suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai on April 30 until further notice, following a government directive on travel between India and Kenya due to a Covid-19 crisis in that country.

The airline said on Friday that passengers who had booked tickets after May 1, the date of the last flight from Mumbai to Nairobi, will have to change their plans.

Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take vouchers for the value of their fare for future travel within 12 months.

India has seen soaring infection rates in the recent days, since the discovery of a new virus variant. Last month, India put on lockdown one of the states following a spike in cases of Covid-19.

Other countries that have banned flights to India include France, the UK Bangladesh, Oman and Hong Kong that have banned travel to and from India or asked their nationals coming from the Asian country to isolate themselves in government-approved hotels.

India has so far detected 33,264,175 corona virus cases with the number of deaths hitting 442,874 as at September 13.

A large number of patients from Kenya also travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medical tourism in the densely populated country that boasts affordable and easily accessible healthcare.



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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs


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Man pulls a cart loaded with second-hand clothes at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
  • Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus.

Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.

Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

Last year’s drop was the first dip since 2011 when 76,533 tonnes were shipped in compared with 80,423 tonnes the previous year, the official data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.

The import bill for the merchandise amounted to Sh12.24 billion, a drop of 31.11 percent, or Sh5.53 billion, year-on-year.

TIn imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.

Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.

The lucrative second-hand clothing market has seen traders from China —a key source market for the merchandise —open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba, in recent years to cash in rising demand.

Earnings from exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 5.32 percent to Sh32.92 billion last year compared with 2019, data indicates.



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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud


Cotu boss Francis Atwoli

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
  • Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.

Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

Mr Atwoli is the secretary-general of KPAWU. The rival union claimed KPAWU had encroached on its area of workers’ representation.

Justice James Rika, however, dismissed the claim and ruled that the dispute should have been taken through conciliation, and was therefore presented in court prematurely.

He also stated that Kefhau must go beyond its registration and recruit sufficient members from the employers, to be granted recognition and organisational rights.

“Registration on its own, does not afford the claimant (Kefhau) recognition. Until there is proof that Kefhau has satisfied Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act, the status quo must be maintained,” said the judge.

“Kefhau must recruit at least 50 percent plus one, of the unionisable employees in the floriculture and horticulture industry, members of the Agricultural Employers Association to be considered for recognition,” he stated.

He noted that there is a Recognition Agreement and CBA, binding Mr Atwoli’s union and Agricultural Employers Association, affecting 73 Flower Growers Group of employers, and over 60,000 employees.

“It is objectionable for Kefhau to be allowed organisational rights, and the legitimacy to receive trade union dues and agency fees, from over 60,000 employees, just on the strength of registration as a trade union,” said the judge.

Kefhau wanted the court to declare that it is the sole trade union, which is allowed by its constitution to carry out activities in the export floriculture and vegetable industry, and an order restraining Mr Atwoli’s from representing workers in that area.



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