, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – It was a night of heavy rainfall ahead of the anticipated open mass at the University of Nairobi on Thursday morning.
All hopes that the rain would stop before the mass began few minutes before 10am faded as the skies seemed to open and close in short intervals.
Umbrellas of different colours and sizes remained open during the entire mass service. Others used chairs to cover themselves.
And then there are those who stood in the open rain.
But that did not deter the unbowed faithful from following the mass presided over by Pope Francis.
It was a feeling that attending that mass there had to be out of passion and determination.
They had travelled from all corners of the country to Nairobi.
Brian Wasike left Bungoma on Wednesday at 9pm and arrived in Nairobi at 5am. He didn’t mind the long hours he spent on the road to come to the rainy Nairobi.
What was important was for him to hear the Pope’s Homily.
“I’ve learnt so much. The Pope has spoken on the issues that ail us and emphasised the need for fostering family values, compassion and justice. So it was worth braving the rain to be here to receive that message,” he told Capital FM News.
70-year-old Patrick Bokomo was another faithful who had travelled from the Kenyan Coast to attend the mass.
“I’m from Bura in Taita and I left home last night and I got here at 5am. This is a great day for Kenya. The other day we were visited by US President Barack Obama and now Pope Francis. It’s given us hope.”
Peter Nguyen, a Vietnamese studying theology in Kenya said he was moved by the resilience and the seriousness of the faithful who were unmoved by the heavy rains.
To him, being in Kenya and getting an opportunity to see the Pope was a golden moment.
“The mass is very nice. And despite the rain the Catholic faithful have turned out in numbers and are hopefully enjoying the mass,” he said.
Thousands of faithful started arriving at University of Nairobi grounds as early as 3am.
“We came early but found the gates closed. They should have let us in as we came and we could have avoided the risk to our safety,” a faithful said.