Community Strategic Plan

English: SWOT analysis diagram in English lang...
English: SWOT analysis diagram in English language. Français : Matrice SWOT en anglais. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

KIBRA TODAY

COMMUNITY STRATEGIC PLAN

SWAT ANALYSIS

EXAMINING OUR

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS

PASSION: Lets develop passion to have progressive Kibra.

Passion is a very simple and yet a very important word. The word means ” a strong feeling of love or anger”. What you really are can be seen by where your passion lies. Passion is the ingredient that makes transformation possible.

It is said that skill provides you options while passion pushes you to pursue options – ignore passion and forget progress.

So we want to transform as a community! To begin the process of transformation, we must have an accurate assessment of who we are, where we are, and where we want to be. Hence turning to SWOT analysis.

First, let’s look at our Kibra passionately:

  1. We all know that there is a great “passion” among our community for our Kibra. People love the ambiance, the natural setting, the country side, the history, the heritage and much more. These feelings have unfortunately, been largely destroyed by the politics of this country.
  2. There is a strong sense of community. We are proud of ourselves, our community organizations and our neighbourhoods.
  3. There is a sense of entrenchment. As people say, “we all love progress, it’s the change we hate”.
  4. None the less. We recognize the opportunity in pursuing fresh ideas/attitudes. There is a desire to create a new vision plan for the future and coordinate efforts among the community.
  5. Too much focus on issues and weaknesses. We need to promote our strengths among ourselves. Then we will be better be able to present our strengths to visitors and others outside our community.
  6. There are specific issues that are foremost in our minds:
    1. To unite each one of us so that we speak from the same voice.
    2. To get the tittle deed for our land.
    3. To protect our quality of life and address the well being of our people.
  7. There are strengths to build upon and opportunities to pursue:
    1. Co-ordinating the talents and energies of our people to achieve a common vision.
    2. Arts, culture, recreation and leisure
    3. Heritage
    4. Under-utilized resources
    5. Honesty
  8. Our people are knowledgeable, experienced and brimming with interesting and innovative ideas. The challenge is to make good use of these valuable resources.

Some SWOT ideas by topics:

  1. Arts, Culture and Recreation

Strengths . Community spirit and pride

. History: rich historical background

. First community to settle in Nairobi

Weaknesses . Community lacks tradition of volunteering their time and talent for the benefit of

Its people.

. Lack of broad vision, policy and leadership for culture and recreation

. No organised programs for community culture and recreation.

. Lack of funding to carry out such programs.

. Knowledge of community about culture or events is poor; need better communi-

Cattion.

. Limited or no opportunities for recreation.

Opportunities . Planning, developing facilities for culture and recreation.

. Acquiring facilities for such

Threats . No volunteers coming forward.

. Lack of funds.

  1. Economic Development : Labour Market/ Training

    Strengths . People: educated, diverse, young

    . Community networks and organizations

    Weaknesses . Lack of broad vision and common goals

    . Not addressing needs of neediest

    . Lack of linkages between employers, training agencies

    . No involvement in small businesses

    Opportunities . Focus on small businesses

    . Focus on growth sectors: tourism, use our crafts, Tabaga, Kuta, Birish

    . Increased partnership activity : refocus/expand role of existing edu-

    cational facilities

    . Build stronger links with NGOs, business communities

    Threats . Competition for employment and businesses with other communities

    . ” Status Quo Thinking “

  2. Our Neighbourhoods

    Strengths . Neighbourhood identities and strong traditions

    . People : diversity, good mix of age, interests

    . Facilities : affordable (own) housing

    Weaknesses . No recreational facilities

    . Most houses are temporary structures, no insurerence

    . Increasing costs leading to affordability problems

    . Growing gaps between “Haves and Have Nots”

    . Lack of common vision/goals between community

    . Lack of vibrant neighbourhood

    Opportunities . Associations, events, planning, communications.

  3. Community Services : Education, Health and other Instiyutions

    Strengths . Educational infrastructure

    . Strong base of institutions/ programs

    Weaknesses . Working in ” Silos “

    . Not communicating with ” ordinary people “

    . Not6 connecting with neighbourhoods

    . Not focusing on children early enough, infant pre-school programming lacking, need


    Parenting supports.

    Opportunities . Aging population : skills and experience can be tapped.

    . New partnerships, roles and approaches

    . Plan and evaluate programs and policies from health perspective

    . Increased focus on early years of life: parenting skills and support.

    Threats . Resources required : funding expertise etc.

  1. Community Services : Role of Non-profit Organizations

    Strengths . People : volunteers, community organizations

    . Generosity of the community

    . Seniors/retirees : education, experience and skills to offer

    Weaknesses . Aging population : can we4 meet needs? Lose active volunteers

    . Gap in meeting needs, lack of funding, lack of assessment of needs,

    Lack of coordination – identify NGO to work with

    . Lack of long range funding

    . Underestimating ( not aware of magnitude of ) needs of those in poverty

    Opportunities . Establish link or coordination with NGO

    . Community work by youth/students, get them into community service early enough,

    (not activists)

    . ” corporate giving has no place to but up”

    Threats . Government abandoning responsibilities and dumping onto NGO

  1. Youth

    Strengths . Youth : diverse, educated, with new skills, can help each other

    . Supportive community organizations : Boys clubs, Girls clubs etc.

    Weaknesses . Lack of social, cultural recreational facilities

    . Lack of training to large percentage of youth – access to employment

    . Lack of understanding and trust to our young people by general public

    . Involvement in drug abuse, thuggery

    . No programs and funding for supports to youth : counselling, healthcare

Etc.

. Lack of vision that recognises importance of youth to community future

Opportunities . Focus on community needs and sustainable development

. Establish funding for youth needs

. Link educational/training services and facilities to youth

. Take advantage of youth skills; technology, creative arts

. Match older workers with youth as mentors

. Increase focus on youth

Threats . Increasing gap between ” Haves and Have-nots “

. Increasing homeless among youth

  1. Seniors

    Strengths . People : friendly, cultured and diverse

    . Quality of life : natural, vibrancy of community, mid-class/low class, family

Life,

. Upholding cultures of the community

. Influential to community youth

Weaknesses . Lack of targeted facilities for recreation and leisure ; need seniors centre

. No comfortable permanent housing

. Contributions of seniors to community recognised and appreciated?

. Enough home care for the aged?

. Not enough or lack of coordination of information ; services, programs,

Cultural activities etc.

Opportunities . Take advantage of increasing number of seniors as an increasing base of

Potential volunteers for community groups and activities

. Use seniors expertise in consulting field.

Threats . Incidence of poverty among older seniors and particularly women

. Lack of access to healthcare

. Lack of long term focus/vision in the community

. What do we know about future of this demographic group

. Increased sense of loneliness among seniors as support networks weaken

Among families, friends, neighbourhoods.

  1. Housing

    Strengths . Land available for housing development

    . Own houses.

Weaknesses . Government still unwilling to give Kibra land back to Nubian community

. Lack of capital for affordable housing projects once title deed is obtained

. Lack of identification of partner from private sector to participate in housing project.

Opportunities . Form task force to develop strategy ready for implementation

. Build partnership with non-profit organisations to address issues concerning low

Cost households.

Threats . Slow approval process by the government of the Kibra land title is abarrier

. Unwillingness to give the land to the community.

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Self Help Project….A Project for Self Sustenance

Community Support Group
Community Support Group (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Self Help Groups Employ Self Help projects  for self sustenance

Self Help Group ( SHG ), also known as mutual aid or support group are groups of people who provide mutual supports for each other. In a SHG, members share a common problem. Their mutual goal is to help each other to deal with and if possible end the problem (s).

With many countries, mainly in the developing parts of the world facing increasing fiscal constraints, coupled with bad governance, many of the rural communities get less attention from the governments. These groups of people have come to realize that there is need for the residents to mobilize themselves for the task of community of development.

The concept of Self Help Project ( SHP ) has come in handy – this is an empowerment strategy that enables local people to exploit to their advantage human and material resources which would otherwise be wasted, in order to perpetuate ignorance and poverty.

SHP enables people to embark on development projects through concerted efforts.

When we talk about SHP, we put before us the question of everyday life. Like in any business plan, and  for this matter any self help initiative, an essential foundation is built for social enterprise.

For meaningful objectives to take root, people need to plan projects ( activities ) that can realize the vision of self reliance and sustainability. This way, through tireless efforts of the managing committees and indeed ordinary members, a self help group can see several self help projects to carter for the ever growing needs of the community members.

 

Writing this article was never meant for making money. However, the donation will help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the marginalized minority, and community matters.

Donations can be made via PayPal using the button below.

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  • Self-help Project, a Tool for Development (fancywriter.wordpress.com)
  • city sustenance (goodisbetter.wordpress.com)
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  • Darkness no more! (thehindu.com)
  • Interest-free loans up to Rs. 5 lakh for SHGs (thehindu.com)
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Self-help Project, a Tool for Development

Beehive Art
Beehive Art (Photo credit: Martin Pettitt)

Self-help project as a tool for development

The case of Ummah Welfare Group.

Community development is a social action process in which people of a community get together, or put their efforts together to deliberate on a development project with the aim of enhancing their economic conditions.

The community normally identify common and individual needs which make the group plan to meet these needs, execute the plans with a maximum reliance upon community resources.

With many developing countries facing increasing fiscal constraints, coupled with bad governance, many of the rural communities get less attention from the government hence the need for the residents to mobilize themselves for the task of community development. Self help project is an empowerment strategy which enables local people to exploit  to their advantage human and material resources which would otherwise lie dormant.

This report highlights the project ” Beehive farming “, which was conceived by Ummah Welfare Group.

The report focus on the fact that the project was started by communal effort. The project team committee comprised of four members who were unanimously selected by members of the group. None of the committee members had previous knowledge of bee farming.

A consultant who is experienced in bee farming was employed to start up the project.

Location of the project

The project is located on a farm or plantation in Mtwapa  about 12 kilometers from Mombasa city, off  Malindi road.

Awareness, mobilization and execution of the project

The most widely used source of awareness to the members about the feasibility of the project was conveyance of meetings. Method of resources mobilization were voluntary donations, and no loan was involved.

At the time of writing this report, the project had taken off the ground but still at its early stage.

The next stage of reporting will specifically address the following matters:

a)  The desirability of the project among the members of the community.

b)  The goals for which the project was embarked upon.

c)  The leadership structure involved in the execution of the project.

d)  Strategies used in mobilizing people and resources for the project.

e)  Other parties involvement in the project.

f)  The extent to which the expectations of the members from the project have been met.

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the donation I ask for is to enable me cover my blogging expences in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority, and also engaging in community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

Orphans and Destitute Children in Slums

human rights
human rights (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Lets care for orphans and destitutes in Slums

We seem to forget that among the dense population in the slums are orphans and destitute children. Their numbers is increasing at a rate twice as much as the increase in the slum population.
Wars, great epidemics (like HIV) and poverty (due to bad governance), have created thousands of these orphans and destitute s.
These young people who are the nation’s future are growing and chances are that many of them will reach working age and will have no earning capacity due to lack of education as they cannot attend schools. Many will probably not be able to vote.
This category of our community need help. If we cannot help them to have earning capacity,or help them to to have upright morals, they will grow up and be a menace to the society.

Early intervention programs.

Everybody should have a passion for shared civil responsibility. If everybody play their part, we would hold the key to understanding and solving our own problems.
We are hoping that Human Rights organizations, in their campaigns, will take a proactive role to assist in the matter, probably organize awareness day to spread the message about.
However, the biggest help should come from the governments in Africa. They should stop bad governance, injustices like marginalization which are the major cause of poverty. We all know that poverty is driven by failures of governance in states where public resources ate squandered without accountability.

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the donation I appeal for is for enabling me cover my  blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority, and also engaging in community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

 

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Nubian Culture

Culture and society

This blog is about the culture of Nubian community who live in East Africa, particularly in Kenya. The writer has sensed the danger of dwindling in the values or activity of the Nubian culture in this area.

What is culture?

Culture can be described as the way of life of a particular society or a group of people including pattern of thought, belief, behavior, customs, traditions, rituals, dress and language, as well as art, music and literature.
Culture is a powerful human tool for survival, but is a fragile phenomenon. It is constantly changing and is easily lost because it is not written.
Nubians need to keep their traditions and culture alive so that they can continue to pass it on from one generation to another.
To revive the Nubian culture and make it vibrant, the starting point would probably be to borrow from the work of Craig Constantine and continue to build up from there.
The art exhibition is one way of viewing their identity and its contribution to the entire Nubian heritage over the course of history.
Nubians can start a local gallery and display paintings and photography on the walls of the exhibition gallery.
. Paintings and photographs of their traditional houses.
. Colorful traditional Nubian clothing.
. Photographs of, and display of traditional hand woven bag, baskets, mats and other accessories.
. Stylish braiding of women hair.
. Nubian musical instruments, etc.

 

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the small donation I plead for is for helping me cover blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for reforms of the marginalized minority,  and also engaging in other community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

 

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Marginalised People of Kibra


Hi, friends

This is one of my first articles in this blog.
When starting anything new, it takes bit of time and practice. I know
how I feel – overwhelmed and frustrated, but with a lot of support and
help from new friends in this business, I have a hope that it is not
going to be as scary or as difficult.
When climbing a mountain you need to step up one step at a time. You
can’t suddenly be at the top by thought alone. You may run to get there
quicker – but you have more chance of stumbling on the way – mind you
had to learn how to walk first before you could run.
So after saying all these, I start my story:


Slum!
Have you ever seen a slum – or lived in one. Well as for myself, I
happen to be born in a slum area – brought up there, and started my
schooling there.
To understand the agony of all these, let us look in our encyclopedia
for the meaning of the word slum. I chose to look in Wikipedia – the
free encyclopedia, which says – ‘ a slum as defined by the United
Nations agency UN- HABITAT, is a rundown area of a city characterized
by substandard housing and squalor, and lacking in tenure security. The
meaning fits very well with the area I am about to describe – Kibra.

Kibra
Kibra is a village on the outskirts of Nairobi – the capitol city of
Kenya. It is situated approximately 12 kilometers on the west side of
the city center. Kibra slum is considered to be the second largest slum
in Africa , and third largest in the world. The area of Kibra
originally was about 4000 acres. This piece of land was a reward given
to the Nubian soldiers as an appreciation of their service in the army.
This story is not only about the slum – but the historical injustices
connected with the land.
The first settlers in Kibra were Nubians who were settled there by the
British in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.

Citing the United NationsCommission of Human Rights ( UNHCR ), the community now living in Kibra are descendants of the Sudanese soldiers forcibly conscripted by the British in the 1800’s.

Nubian population.
Kenya has an estimated 100000 of these stateless people from the Nubian
ethnic community. This is according to the latest human right report
released by the US state department.


Kibra land row.
The land and Nubians living in Kibra are so historically, intricately intertwined that no amount of effort to downplay or ignore the row would end it.


Attempts to separate the two have always targeted turmoil and
volatility over the last decade or so. This state of affairs survived
the last century, and chances are that the status quo is likely to
remain for a long time to come as the security of tenure needs are not
fulfilled.
The then heavily forested area of 4197.9 acres on the outskirts of
Nairobi – the capitol city of Kenya, was allocated the Nubians of the
then Kings African Rifles and their descendants in 1904, surveyed in
1917 and formally gazetted in 1918.
The beneficiaries immediately named the area ‘Kibra’, meaning in their
language ‘jungle infested by wild animals, as this area was part of the
larger Nairobi National Park.
The Nubians then created sub localities, (villages) like Makina, Lomle
etc. which they developed according to their needs, and under the
control of the colonial administrators.


The military handed over the administration to the civilian in 1928.
The colonial administrators left a legacy in form of a school they had
built in the heart of KIbra, which was opened by the then Governor of
Kenya – Sir Evelyn Baring, in 1953, (it is in this school where the
writer of this document received his first primary education).


A memorial plaque the governor unveiled during the function is still
there to this day. It bears the inscription: ‘This building
commemorates the gift of 2000 British pound from the Army Benevolent
Fund in grateful memory of the gallant and loyal service rendered by
the Sudanese soldiers who died for the couse of Eastern Africa in the
two world wars and whose descendant s will be taught in this school’


From the outset, Nubians formed close-knit family units based on
decency – they upheld strong values about hard work, perseverance,
honesty, integrity, respect for one another and good neighborliness.
It was the community cardinal understanding through specially
constituted group of elders, to ensure good and fair social order
prevailed and that the young were brought up practicing the values.


A typical Nubian homestead at the time consisted of a hut, few cattles
and a small farm – as prescribed and controlled by the local
administration. The environment was thus conducive to economic
development – practicing and maintaining the cultural heritage, and
preserving social activities such as weddings, burial, education,
sports and other forms of entertainment.


The Nubian then integrated freely with the other tribes in the
neighborhood – notably the Kikuyus, through trade and cultural
exchange.
The Nubians were part of the development of Nairobi as a city. Self
employment at their village level provided essential retail goods and
services such as shops, hawking of fruits and vegetables.

In the years that followed, the Nubians gradually reduced ties with the British and moved towards sharing a common vision and goals with fellow Kenyans. As the struggle for independence gathered momentum in 1950’s and peaked in 1960’s, Nubians readily associated themselves with the nationalists political parties.

In the meantime the Nubians became more vocal in their demanding security of tenure for the Kibra land. This demand is still not met – but the momentum and the drive for the pursuit of the cause has not diminished one bit.

The scramble for the rapidly diminishing open land area show the shortcomings resulting from poor planning, deliberate lack of control by those in authority, and exploitation of weaknesses in land policies or lack of them. Nubians seem to bear the brunt of the unguided competition.

The unending disturbances in Kibra have their roots in the unresolved land question in the face of relentless competition brought about by uncontrolled urban migration in search of employment and affordable accommodation.

The influx has been brought about mainly by politicians who wish to settle potential voters on what they refer to as government land – which implies that there is no control as to who is eligible for settlement. This resulted in a free-for-all and survival of the fittest.

The migration was minimal in the 1960’s when the Nubian community had a representative in the government as area councilor, then as a member of parliament.

When the Nubian member of parliament was replaced with a non-Nubian, in 1975, the area started seeing a serious wave of migration into the area.
The inflow of non-Nubians did not reduce even with the entry of Mr. Philip Leakey – a Kenyan of British origin as the member of parliament for Kibra in 1980’s.

 

To the Nubians, Mr. Raila Odinga’s political entry in 1990’s (member of parliament from a dominating tribe), further increased the influx in the area. The numbers had grown probably almost exponentially.

The wave had the chilling effect of numerical domination of the area by different groups of non-Nubians – signaling the nudging of the Nubians to the periphery.

The reality now is that there is no more land area left to accommodate more immigration into Kibra. The land is badly congested and therefore the third largest slum in the world. The area is becoming increasingly  difficult to government to control.

At the start of the settlement, the ratio of non-Nubians to Nubians was 1:4, but by the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Nubian numerical advantage had been reversed – and the newcomers outnumbered them by 2:1. It is therefore not surprising that today it is estimated that the Nubians are in the minority in the ratio of 12:1.

In the current seemingly ethnicity based political order in Kenya, what chance do Nubian have for representation other than through nomination as a minority group where lobbying rules are undefined.

During the colonial time, the the administration major role was to control settlement in Kibra by issuing permits to enter the area, and providing security. This power was used to maintain a balance between the available economic resources and the population – which they could comfortably sustain without compromising security and social order.

After independence the administration gradually lost control because of pressure from the growing new political posturing and administration officials personal commercial interests.

Today it is not a secret that a significant number of uncontrolled housing structures in Kibra are owned by former provincial administration officials who, together with vested interests, also dominate businesses. Thus the original homestead configuration enjoyed by the Nubians have disappeared.

The government nobble objective soon after independence was to provide affordable housing in keeping with better urban planning and avoiding the mushrooming of uncontrolled structures.

Today, six estates have been built in the Nubian land between 1963 and 1977. Although it was expected that the people to benefit from the new estates would be Nubians – the reality was different. Through the combination of skewed allocation and prohibitive eligibility criteria, mostly financial, most deserving Nubians who had lost their villages were locked out. They were constrained to join the scramble for housing in the growing slum.

If you find this article interesting, please consider making donation to help support me in the lone journey I am making advocating for reforms of the marginalized minority. Donation will help me with my blogging expenses. Thank you.

 

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My History – Personal Portfolio

Personal portfolio

I do not consider myself a special person – rather an ordinary mid-class person, born from a poor family, and brought up in a slum. This slum happen to be the third largest slum in the world today- Kibera slum.

In my childhood days, I was an above-average student in primary school.  In the school I did not have many friends, thus I was lucky not to get bad influence from bad students.

Just before I was ready to move to secondary school, my parents separated (divorced) and I had to be moved to live with my grand parents (paternal).

This was the beginning of experiencing a harsh life, because of missing my parent’s love and that the environment and the living style had changed completely. My grand parents did not go to school and were obviously completely illiterate – although of course they understood what school is.

However, I had to struggle with my secondary education for five  years until I completed.

When I talk about harsh time during my school time, one has to understand a bit of history of the less developed countries of Africa, one has to know what slums are and how people live there – life which is in-imaginable to people from developed countries. ( look out for my next blog on slum dwellers ).

As I said above, the hardship is not imaginable. For example I had to walk approximately 10 kilometers to school and back home every day, going without lunch most of the time.

However I took my studies with the seriousness it deserved, reading at night  using kerosene lamp. This way I was able to pass my secondary examination and obtain a grade which allowed me to continue with my studies at university level.

But alas! would that be possible? No, my poor father would not afford to pay for my university education with a salary equivalent to $ 7 per month. I was obviously upset and bitter, but that was the reality.

However, being determined as I was to have good education, I did not lose hope, with a bit of struggle I was able to enroll myself in a Polytechnic run with assistance from the British and German governments. My joining the Polytechnic was made possible by sponsorship from an international cement factory in Mombasa.

In my 5 years of study at the Polytechnic I was able to obtain a Mechanical Engineering certificate to the level of Ordinary Diploma in Engineering.

By this time my father was very old and retired from work – no pension.

At this stage, although I was eligible to join a university, I was not able to do so because of lack of money and no one to sponsor me.

What else could I do except hunting for a job and earn salary and be able to care for my aged parents. This turned out to be a bit easy since I had an Engineering qualification. In those days there were v ery few people with engineering qualifications in this country.

I was employed by an International Petroleum Oil Company.

The country where I was born, and where I got employed is Kenya, in East Africa. And the company which employed me was The East African Oil Refinery. The Refinery was then being run and managed by Shell International Petroleum company whose headquarters was in the Netherlands.

I was employed as a junior Mechanical Engineering Inspector in a specialized section of Inspection. Due to the special nature of of work in this section, I had to be sent overseas for training. My first overseas assignment was in England at Shell Stanlow Petroleum Refinery, for a period of 3 years. And my second working assignment was in Australia, at Shell Clyde Refinery, for a period of 2 years. I then returned to Mombasa Refinery and was elevated to the post of Senior Mechanical Inspector. I have now retired from work.

I learn t about computers in Australia, and developed love for computers since then. After my retirement I sent some of my money to buy 4 computers for use in a Cyber Cafe which I owned. This idea did not work well and I abandoned it after about 18 months.

I then decided to venture in blogging which I am now doing all the time. With friends all around me, I am sure of getting all the help I need.

I wrote this blog as a short history of my life, which, I hope defines who I am.

Thank you.

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the small donation I plead for is for helping me cover blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for reforms of the marginalized minority,  and also engaging in other community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.

 

 

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Valentine’s Day – Should we Celebrate or Not

Do away with Valentine’s Day!

My girl friend is a strange sort of person, she is opposed to Valentine’s day – why, she reasons below.

She spent Valentine’s day in bed – which happened to be a Sunday. She said she would have preferred to go out and watch a movie like she frequently does on any given Sunday, instead, a book or fashion magazines offered a safer option.

‘Don’t get me wrong, she quipped, I have no problem being dateless on Valentine day – it casts such a lonely picture, doesn’t it – which is a false picture because I am not lonely’ she insists. ( by the way, during this Valentine day, I happened to be away on a business trip )

Setting a pace for a debate regarding Valentine day, does it put as much pressure on single women as it does on dating men?

Take my girl friend for instance, one of many dateless women ( by design or default ) on that day and who didn’t necessarily feel the pressure to conform their plans, behaviour, or dressing during the Valentine day

Nonetheless, my girl friend adds that she found Valentine day a bothersome intrusion on her otherwise quaint existence which is devoid of social conformity.

Valentine day has become such a farce and I honestly don’t want to be part of that production, she said.

She argues that there are all kinds of romantic gestures, they aren’t always about flowers or poetry or chocolates.

But she adds that although she wasn’t  bothered about spending the day alone, it somehow got her on that day.

She felt it when a few friends called her on that Sunday to ask what she was doing for the day. It felt a bit sad having to say that she was doing nothing a part from lounging around in her house. Even though her friends didn’t say it – she knew they felt sorry for her.

For some, Valentine day stirs a soulful fire of defiance. One of her friends rubbishes the hypothesis that Valentine day is a harsh reminder for single women of their single-hood which may construe to mean loneliness. She said her life continued as usual on that Valentine day Sunday. She feels it is wrong for those in relationship to make those who are single feel out of place if they choose to be alone. Many people seeing  a single woman alone immediately pity her. Seeing two women alone in this era of same-sex liaisons will only have tongues wagging.

I don’t have to live my life for others; I didn’t feel pressured to change my routine just because there are lovers all over the place.

I used to think life revolved around a man, that without a man happiness would be elusive. How naive, because I figure that once you find happiness in yourself first, and are comfortable with who you are, then Valentine’s Day should not be any different from any other day.

But that doesn’t mean that  I am one of those cynics who doesn’t believe in love.

How would you want to react to all these!