Categories: OPINION

Valentine’s day: not so rosy for the people of Taita Taveta.

Valentine day also called Saint Valentine day or the Feast of Saint Valentine is celebrated annually on Feb 14. The day is recognized as a significant, cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romantic love in many regions around the world, Although it is not a public holiday in any country.

Here in Taita Taveta county lovers, have probably made their plans to treat their partners on this special day. This brings up the question, how many of the county’s residents celebrate this special day? Especialy when on a day like this everyone seems to be going around their daily endeavors. For those who have their own businesses in towns like Voi, Mwatate, Wundanyi and Taveta have opened their businesses like any ordinary day and most of them have no evening plans of taking their loved one’s out.

Same with the one’s living in villages, in fact some don’t even realize that this day exists and to those that do, they don’t care or they have this perception that valentine’s day is meant for young couples. They are busy invading their shambas harvesting their yields in a bid to prepare for the march rains.

This beg’s the question, why would residents of Taita not even blink for a day like this while people in big towns like Mombasa and Nairobi are planning exotic romantic gateways to celebrate this day. Some would say this has been caused by people not embracing the culture of celebrating valentines, but this is an issue that affects Kenyans ,and even Africans at large. Probably circumstances has has not given Taita people the pleasure of celebrating this day.

That is not to say, that no one in Taita Taveta celebrates valentines. Contrary to this there are people, young and middle aged in towns like voi who make arrangements for this day by planning weekend gateways outside the county. There are young people from local institutions like Taita Taveta University, and Coast Institute of Technology (CIT) who treat their girlfriends and fiances to getaways and date nights to high end resorts like Vacani resort, Panlis resort and many more. There are also civil servants and county government officials who do the same. This is good because it has broke the notion that hotels and lodges in this county have to filled by outsiders.

On Thursday afternoon in Voi town, you would find mama mboga’s and boda boda riders going on their daily activities with no care about this day. Most of them would argue they have more issues at hand to care rather than focus on celebrating love. Most say love should be celebrated on a daily basis and not set aside for a specific day to celebrate love, of which the day could be focused on hitting the grinding mode. To some extent they are right.

But hey, there is a huge elephant in the room, the nurses strike in the county and the issue of water shortage in Voi. Who can blame the residents when our public hospitals are messy and people are hugely affected by this never ending strike. People are busy focusing their energy to make sure their loved one’s get proper medical attention. Obviously you don’t expect such a person to be in the spirit of celebrating valentines.

On a special day like this, the county government would do it’s residents justice by gifting them with proper medical attention.First and foremost to ensure nurses are back in our public hospitals. This would make the best valentines gift rather than flooding social media pages with messages of valentines which lives most residents reminiscing about this day yet most of them are submerged with issues that need agent attention.

by FRANCK MACHILA

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