Visit to Kenyan Parishes Builds Bonds of Solidarity

Twenty Catholics from the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota, arrived in Nairobi yesterday to participate in a global solidarity visit with the Diocese of Homa Bay. The parishioners—who range in age from 16 to 80—will travel by bus for eight hours today to the western edge of Kenya. Once there, they will depart in pairs to surrounding parishes, where they will spend the next week visiting with Kenyans to share their faith and deepen cultural understanding.

Kenya visit

Jill Zimmer (left) of Annunciation Parish in Mayhew Lake, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya with other U.S. Catholics. They visited schools, health centers, and churches to learn firsthand about Kenya’s development and social issues. Photo by Debbie DeVoe

“This is a different kind of mission focusing on people and relationships instead of going to fix something,” says Jill Zimmer of Annunciation Parish in Mayhew Lake. “I have no idea what to expect, so everything is exciting and an adventure.”

The two dioceses have hosted five prior visits of Americans to Homa Bay and four trips of Kenyans to St. Cloud. On this trip, the participants will visit schools, health centers, churches and more in each parish to learn firsthand of Kenya’s development and social issues.

“These trips give you a totally new perception of life. They’ll learn about our culture, and we’ll learn about American culture,” adds Cyprian K’Oywa, chairman of the Homa Bay leadership team that oversees the diocesan partnership. “We are promoting the unity of people of different beliefs and cultures so we all see that we belong to each other as part of the human race.”

— Debbie DeVoe, CRS regional information officer, East Africa

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