Valentine’s Day – the most loving day of the year– is almost always associated with thoughtful cards, beautiful flowers, crafty chocolates and a fantastically romantic dinner.
Typical Kenyan men are perceived to fail the romantic standards enshrined in movies, instead they are strong believers of providing their women with quality life. Buying a plot, building a house and ensuring the family is happy is a far greater sign of love than splurging over a fancy romantic dinner.
Interestingly, according to “WorldRemit” – an international money transfer service – Kenyans in the diaspora follow the “No Romance Without Finance” principle. Their statistics indicate that Kenyans in the diaspora are the most generous long distance lovers who sends money directly to their lover’s phone. To demonstrate the hallmark of love, Kenyans living in Australia (the nation ranked second highest after Kenyans in the UK) on average sends $10.5 USD more home on Valentine’s Day than on an ordinary day.
The European valentine may not realize but there is also a good chance that the roses given to them came from a field in Kenya or its neighboring country Tanzania in East Africa. Flowers are typically cut from the farm and transported in a refrigerated truck to an airport and flown – equally chilled – to Europe. These will subsequently be sold at auction to wholesalers who acts as distributor to retail florists. According to flower industry insiders, Kenyan farmers from Naivasha, the demand for flowers from the EU ahead of the lover’s day has risen by 5% in 2017. This was driven particularly by the weak British sterling pound and Brexit.
In the Nairobi city, the day prior to Valentine’s day also marks the International Condom Day. The Kenyan government gave out free studded condoms which promotes “pleasure with prevention”. This newly launched studded condoms not only offer protections against pregnancy but also promoted defense against sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. The 2016 Kenya AIDS Progress Report indicated that young people aged 15-24 accounted for more than 77,000 cases of new infections in Kenya. This was believed to have been attributed to ignorance and stigma of the disease as well as limited knowledge of prevention methods.
Whether your Valentine’s day involves a romantic dinner, flowers from East Africa or a plot of land – we wish you a very happy Valentine’s day filled with love from those around you!