This weekend is a special one for many people. It is made special by an abstract conception that February 14 is a day of love.
A day to be close to the one we love. Businesses are making a kill out of this commonly accepted convention. Many ladies are looking forward to be given a treat by the men they love.
Roses are in plenty and recreational places are advertising their Valentine’s activities with “gusto”. Love is in the air and for a lot of people both Saturday night and all of Sunday will be packed with the celebration of togetherness.
There are, however, many who will not have the luxury of being in a celebratory mood at all. I am thinking here of the people who recently lost their dear ones in Somali.
My mind goes to the young wives who have been widowed by this most horrible disaster.
Think too of the many human beings who are trying to cross boarders to run away from violence in their own home country such as Syria.
There are those women and children who suffer the European cold in the refugee camps. Such people may not quite enjoy Valentine’s.
The other day, I saw in the news another natural disaster which happened in some place in Taiwan. A seventeen storey apartment block collapsed with people inside after an earthquake.
People died and others were wounded. Those who were affected by that disaster will most certainly not be in a mood to celebrate.
As I watched that piece of news about the collapse of that building what came to my mind is the high rise buildings we have seen collapsing both here in Nairobi and elsewhere.
These buildings did not come tumbling due to an earthquake or any such natural phenomenon.
They collapsed as a result of poor – or careless – workmanship. They collapsed due to professional negligence and greed. Such disasters are as a result of the rot that there is in our society that has resulted in the total disregard by most of us for values that should sustain a civilised society.
Love for one’s own nation – love for Patria – gives one the urge to do the things that make all of us proud of belonging to such a nation.
The disasters we see that are caused by selfishness and greed happen because many of us are not patriotic.
They happen because many of us only think about “what there is in it for me” as we do what must be done.
As we celebrate this feast day of love, I would suggest that we also question ourselves as to how much we love Kenya. Happy Valentine’s!
Fr Wamugunda is dean of students, University of Nairobi; [email protected]