It was a lucky day for traders in Kisumu as followers of New Life Church thronged Kirembe grounds for a crusade by Mombasa-based Pastor Ezekiel Odero.
The three-day event has seen hawkers and businessmen pitch temporary structures on both sides of the busy Kisumu-Busia highway in a bid to serve thousands of worshippers who had travelled to the lakeside city for “healing” and spiritual nourishment.
Dubbed “Kisumu healing crusade”, the event that kicked off on Friday 24 to Sunday 26 caused a huge traffic snarl as public service vehicles established new routes to serve those travelling to the event.
Among other areas, matatus, tuktuks and boda boda operators were seen shuttling from Otonglo, Kondele, Nyamasaria and the city centre which is over five kilometres away.
Local vendors and entrepreneurs sought to capitalise on the opportunity, setting up stalls, shops and eateries around the venue situated next to the Kisumu International Airport.
Food vendors reported bumper sales of dishes such as ugali, chapati, fish and beans as hawkers made big sales on snacks soft drinks and water to cool them amidst increased heat and the scorching sun of Kisumu.
Many vendors expressed their gratitude to the evangelist for organising the occasion in Kisumu and creating a great opportunity for them.
‘’We are so thankful to the man of God for bringing us the word of God here in Kisumu, I came here yesterday to receive the word of God and also sell foodstuffs to the attendees,” said Millicent Anyango.
Proprietors of temporary toilets were also not left behind as they poised themselves to get a piece of those who wanted to answer the call of nature.
However, a number of participants expressed concerns due to the increased cost of seats which went for Sh100 a day.
As a result, many resorted to sitting on the ground throughout the event, a scenario which they noted was big a challenge.
Despite the setback, Sarah Njeri who travelled from Naivasha expressed optimism that she was going to achieve what she was expecting after travelling a distance of over 250km to the lakeside city.
‘’I came here yesterday to get healed by the man of God, I have been having heart problems for a long time and I believe I shall be healed today, ‘’said Sarah Njeri.
While a number of accommodation facilities reported full bookings ahead of the crusade, some people spent the nights in the field.
The crusade is expected to go on throughout the weekend, with many more people expected to attend and get their desires granted.