10-12-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
Needless to say, this year's Christmas holidays in Malindi and Watamu will be something new, surreal perhaps even a little sad. But you can never really be depressed when you live in a place that gives you so much wellbeing and vitality, even if in the end in this wretched age what they have led us to consider are above all the earnings, the "dirty" money.
Actually, as someone like me who lived in Kenya thirty years ago and saw the changes for the better and for the worse can tell us, a stop like this year's one to population growth and the attempt of at least a slice of the population to get out of the mud of poverty, hurts a lot. On the coast, for example, where people live essentially from tourism and its induced activities, it is worrying to think that the thousands of foreigners, particularly Italians, who populate it as holiday-makers, will not be there for the end of the year festivities. So hoteliers and other activities have focused everything on local tourism and many structures have also tried to change their style, their proposals and services in order to welcome the best Kenyan people.
Reservations are promising in this sense, some hotels even register up to 60% of occupations, even if only for about ten days at the most, but that would be enough to avoid having to mouth-watering and allow entrepreneurs to pay hundreds of local employees for a few months who in turn will be able to bring home food and food for their families.
At this point we are all hanging on to the statements of President Kenyatta, who should confirm, perhaps with a few more restrictions, the possibility at least for his fellow countrymen to come on holiday to the coast. Especially now that the Covid-19, although extensive and not absent in these parts, is claiming fewer victims.
Kenyatta also confirmed this at the Pan-African conference in Kisumu yesterday and so did one of his East African colleagues, the Rwandan Paul Kagame: the virus has been contained compared to the catastrophic expectations of the World Health Organization and, above all, it has caused fewer victims than expected, even though the health care system was so bad that it has suffered and the already few hospital workers have been put to the test and have also suffered many losses. Above all, their salaries in this pandemic year are not equal to the surplus work and stress they have had to face.
In short, we go ahead with optimism hoping that the holidays will not bring any "third wave" but confirm that we are in a downward phase of the Coronavirus, favoured by the great heat of this period and the natural social distances of living by the sea, on the beach and in contact with Nature. As many people around here say, insh'allah.
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