?Dear Nairobians, Easter in Coast without you is not the same

Mohamed Hersi, Pollsmans Tours and Safaris newly appointed Director of Operations. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

This Easter, Mombasa and Kenyan Coast is dead and lifeless without you good people. Dead and silent without you, beloved Nairobians. You may be considered noisy but what is life without some noise and happy faces? Nairobi is our capital city. While the Coast is laid back, Nairobians are the opposite, outgoing and also good spenders. They love fine things in life, love life and merry making.

We miss your colourful dressing all set for the beach and in all shapes and sizes. It has never mattered that you were a swimmer or not. Beach hotels are quiet this morning. The airport is dead silent so is SGR with lone askaris keeping watch. If it was not for cessation of movement, the entire Coast would be multi-coloured, painted red by upcountry Kenyans.

Now that you are not there, everyone can feel the void. Without you it's never the same. The taxi driver, the tuk-tuk guys and all the eateries from Tarboush to Forodhani to Tamarind; the madafu and muhogo guys at Mama Ngina waterfront, everyone has been affected. The supermarkets and all the Airbnbs are also silent. Milk, bread and eggs would fly off the shelves like they grew wings. While stocks ran out when you are in town, it also meant you left behind loads of money in the economy.

Malindi Airport would also be busy as you head to Watamu and Malindi but the roaring aircraft engines have all gone silent. The sleepy town of Shimoni is also missing you. The boat operators that would take you on a guided tour are now coming to terms with the monster of Covid-19 pandemic and all that it has brought.

On the beach, the vendors in normal times would be smiling since Nairobians and others coming over meant good income for them. From the camel handler with his rides to Halima and Fatma who would be busy with heena and piko designs, which will be evidence of a coastal sojourn. The local mamas that hotels would invite to make the traditional Swahili breakfast are at home. The viazi vya karai, mahamri, mbaazi and kaimatis will wait till next time.

Even the matatu guys will miss you since not everyone stays in a beach resort. How did I forget the Uber folks and other taxi-hailing services? It's been a silent weekend and all those extra Ubers are parked at home. Dear Nairobians, it is not your wish to stay at home. It is because of this terrible virus. We thought it was done with us but little did we know it was busy reloading and doing push-ups to give us one serious upper-cut. We send you warm greetings and lots of love. We miss you but stay safe because it is more important, for now. We will host you again with your loved ones in the not so distant future when all this is behind us.

Mohamed Hersi is the chairman, Kenya Tourism Federation