From a tremendously charged world moving at a fast pace, with little time for personal development to everything as we know it nearly grinding to a halt, and calls for working remotely, many have found adjustment in their schedules calling for creative ways to spend their time indoors.
Reading is one such activity that not only keeps the mind occupied, while learning, but also great for mental health, as Kenyans social-distance and self-isolate to help break the chain and flatten the curve in the spread of coronavirus.
BDLife spoke to a few executives to find out what they are reading during this time and why.
Carolyne Ndolo, GM Eastern Africa IQVIA
Carolyne, one the 2019 Top 40 Under 40 Women, recently turned 40. Among the gifts she received included vouchers from her favourite bookstore.
“Luckily, I managed to redeem my vouchers before the Covid-19 situation, so I have about 12 new books I can read during this period even as I work from home.”
What types of books do you read?
I mostly focus on self-improvement (leadership) when selecting books. But I also like to read inspirational and African authors. I tend to read three books at the same time to try and capture all my interest areas and to also break the monotony of the seriousness that comes with leadership books.
When do you make the time to read given you’re also working from home?
I read a chapter or two early in the morning. I am an early riser and since I do not have to drive to the office, I use an hour to read and to also prepare for my day. Sometimes I also read at night after putting the children to bed at about 8pm.
What are you currently reading?
1. Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
2. Why Should Anyone Be Led By You by Gareth R. Jones & Robert Goffee.
I believe that leaders are made and for me to become a great leader I must learn continuously.
These two books have great insights on how to become an authentic leader and to also lead with courage. My role is very demanding and involves a lot of people management. I am improving myself for the amazing people that I have the awesome privilege to lead.
3. The Wisdom of Sunday by Oprah Winfrey. This book is very inspiring and provides life changing insights. I value meaningful conversations and there is no better author to read this from than Oprah who has had countless meaningful conversations with visionaries the world over.
Ken Odede, social entrepreneur, Shining Hope For Communities (Shofco) founder
Kennedy Odede needs no introduction. In the world of social entrepreneurs he is a bit of a star. He is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, has won The Hilton Humanitarian Award, the world’s largest annual award for non-profits that have made extraordinary contributions towards alleviating human suffering, among many other accolades, including being picked as one the 2019 Top 40 Under 40 Men.
What are you reading?
The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary as well as Brother & Sister by Diane Keaton. It was recommended to me by a friend but was unavailable in the Kenya, so I asked a friend in the US to send it to me, by then corona was not yet as issue, it had only hit China.
What are your favourite genres?
I love reading non-fiction. Since I have three young children, I also love to stay grounded by reading things that make me think differently as a parent.
I’m more old school, I love to touch the paper, turn the pages and mark the book as I see it fit. But with limited movement now, I am considering moving to the Kindle, I guess I’ll change with the times.
How is the social distancing helping you to read?
I wish I read more, but mostly there’s no time as someone who works in the communities.
I find myself reading a lot now that we are practicing social distancing. We also don’t have a TV in our house. That has helped too with my reading.
Dr Kizzie Shako, Forensic medical practitioner and Vunja Kimya founder
Dr Shako is a police surgeon with years of experience in examining suspects and victims of a wide array of crimes.
She also offers expert testimonies in court when called upon, conducts training for forensic matters and in more recent years, has been using her Vunja Kimya Foundation to teach sexually abused girls self-defence while conducting civic education using social and mainstream media.
What are you currently reading?
I read academic stuff.
The Detection of Doping in Sport and the Role of Forensic Science by Kelly Carey from Long Island University and The epidemiology and Pathogenesis of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak by Husain A. Rothan and Siddappa N. Byrareddy from the Journal of Autoimmunity.
I have been reading up on Covid-19, the scientific articles and conspiracy theories surrounding it.
I’m working on forensic documentation tools, the current P3 form and using a lot of international information and on articles for the Vunja Kimya website so I basically have been reading up on the female reproductive system as well as getting reading materials for my son.
How are you able to work from home and read?
Oh! that’s not hard. I work best in the middle of the night. But because most of my work at the moment is to do with compilation of written articles, I just isolate myself in the house and work on it. Then I spend time with my son reading books, including the Bible, either online or hard cover books because he loves that most. We engage in a lot of board games as well.
What do you make of reading and mental health especially now that we’ve been forced to isolate?
I am not a mental health expert but a time such as this gives us all the opportunity to pick up a book and read, even if it’s online.
Take this opportunity to read with your children. It serves to broaden one’s knowledge and it’s a good and healthy distraction. I am using this time to engage in board games, reading books that focus on science experiments for my son and it’s a lot of fun, it helps one get creative!