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Celebrating Christmas amid COVID-19, rising inflation

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CHRISTMAS is just two days away and like every other year, the excitement surrounding the festive season is usually not all about the D-day itself. Most times, it dwells on the anticipation, preparations and the buzz.

  Despite the changes in the atmosphere, sights and scenes, the market squabble and other activities associated with it herald the festive season especially in our clime. There seems to be a drop in the general excitement about Christmas from previous years.

  Emeka Okafor, a building materials dealer at the Building Material International Market, Ogidi/Ogbunike bemoaned  the low turnout/purchase of wares from customers.

  To him,  past years, the last quarter of the year is usually the period for massive sales of building materials with no time to spare for oneself. However, he said that Christmas comes every year and there will always be opportunities knocking around.

“This year, Christmas season has had it’s ups and downs but the truth is that the sales we made in selling building materials like doors, gates are less than what we used to earn in previous years except last year, 2020, during the pandemic. Customers did not come forth as we marketers have struggled with rising inflation and price of dollars. Despite that and no matter the outcome of events, we will continue to thank God for the gift of life and his faithfulness”, he said.

   Ifeoma Egwuatu, a primary school teacher at Igwebueze Primary school, Ifite Awka, equally thanked God for life, good health and protection throughout the year.

  On how she has planned to celebrate during this festive period, she said: “I had hope to celebrate with my family this Christmas  but the other day,  when I went to the market to buy foodstuffs and every other item we would need, I wept as the price of goods have gone x3 of the price we used to get them.

There’s no doubt that there’s hunger and hyper-inflation in the land. As a civil servant, the meagre sum I get at the end of the month is not enough to buy food talk more of other bills.  “When you go to the market, you will understand more. The ugly situation is nothing to write home about. People struggle to feed, have shelter and earn a living”, she continued.

  To Chinne Ejiofor, a  corps member serving in Awka, Anambra State, the Christmas celebration is exciting but at the same time, she is  wary of things that can happen during this festive season. This, she said, was as a result of insecurity, killings going on for months in Anambra State and Southeast region in general. Further, She identified her other fear to be the escalation of the new COVID -19 variant, Omicron and how people have become notoriously carefree and nonchalant of the new development. 

“As usual, I am excited as everyone. The Christmas season is that which everyone prepare with much anticipation, to reunite with family and friends. Going home to experience nature’s beauty and ambience and integrate in culture and traditions. But as we celebrate, we should be cautious especially with the state of insecurity and killings going round the state and the entire Southeast.

The rate of killings is highly unprecedented. Also, one should be cautious about public gatherings with the emergence of Omicron, a new COVD-19 variant. We should try to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations to stay safe and healthy”.

  Three issues dominate this year’s Christmas celebration- economic woes and inflation, insecurity and escalation of COVID-19. As evidence shows with market realities that prices have gone up that people cannot cope with, the security situation is worsening as our brothers and sisters in diaspora and outside the region are afraid to come back for fear of the unknown. With the surge in COVID19 cases recently, there’s  a need for one to thread carefully during this moment of reunion, love, celebration and thanksgiving. In all, it’s necessary for one to be prudent in spending and to stay away from gatherings that are not necessary this period.

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