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‘I don’t need Valentine’s to show love’

It will be a low key Valentine’s Day for most Nairobi residents even as the National Aids Control Council announced a four-day campaign to distribute one million condoms in the city centre.

Most residents interviewed said they had no intentions of taking their loved ones out to celebrate the Lover’s Day and will be going about their daily businesses instead.

An opinion poll released yesterday by Ipsos Synovate revealed very few Kenyans intended to spend more than Sh1,000 on their loved ones on Valentine’s Day due to hard economic times.

The poll revealed that whereas 60 per cent of Kenyans sampled said they intended to celebrate the lovers’ day, 23 per cent of them were not willing to spend more than Sh1,000 on their loved ones. Nairobians who spoke to NairobiNews expressed pessimism.

Nothing special

Ken Gitonga said he had agreed with his fiancée to spend the day indoors.

“In my entire life, I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. I don’t know where the idea came from. I just don’t feel it. I have also indoctrinated my fiancée, who is not expecting anything special from me,” he said.

Brenda Wanjiku, a married mother of one, said she will be spending Valentine’s day in the office away from her family.

“I have celebrated enough Valentine’s Days. Tomorrow will be a normal day for me; work and then home. Maybe my husband has a surprise for me,” she said.

NACC has embarked on a four-day campaign to distribute the condoms to residents within the CBD to check the spread of HIV.

“We focused on Nairobi as it has a high HIV infection rate of 8.6 per cent compared to the national rate of 5.6 per cent. The essence is to tell Nairobians to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Dr Emmy Chesire of NACC.

According to the Ipsos poll, singles and those dating feel more pressured to show love on this day compared to their married counterparts. Predictably, flowers, clothes, shoes, cards and romantic dinners top women’s gift wish list.

In the second tier is chocolate, special lunch, travel out of town, ticket to a Valentine’s event, a bottle of wine, perfumes, lingerie, hand bags and jewellery.

Men are hoping to get some clothing item and perhaps some flowers but some are not expecting a gift from their ladies. Janet Mwende, a flower vendor along Kimathi Street said says that although the price of flowers has significantly gone up by about 30 per cent, Nairobians continue to buy flowers for their loved ones.

“The price has gone up because of the high demand for flowers internationally and this cost is passed on to the consumers who don’t mind spending an extra dime for a loved one,” she said.