For about 2 ½ months now tourism has been on the ground and many employees have lost their daily income. Today we visit the Diani Sea Lodge in the heart of Diani Beach. The long-time employees have not been laid off. Waiters, cooks, cleaners and everyone else with a permanent contract have started their annual leave. As it was obvious that the hotels would not be able to reopen immediately after a few weeks, the holidays were doubled and the salaries halved. So all sides benefit – no layoffs, but 50 % continued salary payments.
Of course, employees without a fixed contract do not have this luck. As everywhere else in the world, they are the first to be without income and in Kenya also without any government aid. This is our targeted group today: the casual and temporary workers who have not received any help for 2 months now. To make our efforts worthwhile, the list was extended with the temporary workers of the sister hotel Diani Sea Resort.
On the hotel grounds it is quiet and deserted, only a few gardeners and craftsmen are doing their work. Standstill in paradise! A strange feeling to walk through such a beautiful but empty hotel complex.
Our volunteers are setting up the registration tables in front of the reception and the 100 packages planned for today are being set up under the veranda because of the coming rain. Today we are again accompanied by Red Cross Kenya, who take care of the hygiene regulations and of course keep the lists accurate in order to ensure the correct allocation of food donations. We check again and again that the identification of the aid beneficiaries is correct so that the donations reach the right families. The Red Cross staff do their work correctly and quickly. Everyone who is on the list must identify themselves with their ID card and sign that the donation package has been received. After about 2 hours 91 packages have changed hands and the remaining 9 are going back to the camp where more bags are already waiting for the temporary workers and the distribution tomorrow!
The next morning, we set up the registration tables again at Diani Sea Lodge. But this time directly at the gate. With the help of the County Government and the Red Cross we invited today those who earn their daily bread independently in tourism. The registered and licensed beach vendors, boat captains, masseurs and masseuses, souvenir sellers and kanga saleswomen. In other words, all those who earn their daily bread in front of or behind the hotels along the beach and the road. Of course, we cannot consider them all at once. The Diani Beach stretches from Galu Beach to Kinondo for approximately 15 km. There are several hundred people who have licences in order to do their job in tourism here on a daily basis. Therefore, the Red Cross has evaluated the lists and selected the most urgent 150 cases.
The picture today is therefore colourful – as colourful as we know and love Kenya! Once again, we are happy to see how smoothly the distribution is running. The security staff of Diani Sea Lodge are supporting us with all their strength. They already check at the gate who is authorized and who is not. Shortly before the end of our edition there are some small discussions at the gate. We only have 17 packages left, which is in accordance with the lists. However, there are a lot more people standing in front of the gate, whom we now have to send home empty-handed. These are moments that are hard to bear for both sides. We are aware that we cannot help all families affected. But to see the confidence on their faces dwindling is hard to bear. One can only exhale and hope that things will continue somehow. And we try again and again to explain the rules: We, as Diani Pamoja, can only give donations to registered households. It must be ensured that these are people in need of help. Get registered!
With today’s initiative we were able to hand over exactly 1,000 donated hampers. Depending on the average household size, this is about 5,000 – 6,000 people who have received a spark of hope from the help of Diani Pamoja and for whom we were able to make their daily lives a little easier. If someone had told us at the beginning that we could distribute 20 tons of food within a few weeks, we would probably not have taken them seriously. It is great!
And our reward? The smiles of those who can carry home the 20 kg donation package!