My Day With The Pope

I have heard about the pope ever since I was a young girl. Pope John Paul is my earliest memory of a pope an after he died, I never imagined I would ever be excited about another pope again. However, this week in Kenya has been exhilarating. He arrived on Wednesday evening on the 25th of November. As a working class, I was excited to have a holiday where I could catch up on sleep. However, today was a special day for the youth as well. It was the day pope Francis would address the youth at Safaricom stadium.

I got there at around 9.30 together with myriads of other Kenyans.

Hundreds of people rushing to the entrance
Hundreds of people rushing to the entrance

Some with their children and others with friends, we rushed into the arena. The uniformed national youth service were in attendance and  told us to quickly rush into the stadium. A long queue was outside the a as many people looked confsed and tired as the police men who guarded the doors asked for a card.

“Mimi niko na birth certificate!” a lady shouted in the back as she looked through her bag. The card that was being asked for was an invitation card from the chairman of the Kenya conference of catholic bishops, Philip Anyolo. The card was collected from various catholic churches weeks before.

The card needed to enter Kasarani stadium
The card needed to enter the Safaricom stadium

I did not have anything of this sort and so I began to lose hope of seeing papa. However, one of the guards begun giving out the card! We made a line and slowly by slowly, the cards were handed out to us.

After receiving the coveted card, I got onto the line. The search was thorough. Women s bags were turned inside out as men were sked to remove their belts and have their cards in hand. After passing this, I got through!

A man is searched by security guards at the entrance
A man holding his belt is searched by a police officer at the entrance

As I entered the stadium, there I could feel the excitement in the air. People sang and asked danced as various songs were being played. I was shocked as even the cardinals got onto the field an begun dancing. Soon after that, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his wife Margaret joined them as they danced to Mugithi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta leads the mugithi

At approximately 10.20 Papa arrive. The audience shouted in jubilation!!

“AZUNGUKE!” the audience demanded as Papa went directly to his sitting position.

Pope Francis arriving at the stadium

After a reading, song and receiving a rosary, he finally gets onto the stage.

Pope Francis receives a rosary

He begins by encouraging the youth. Although we are plagued by drugs, and effects of global warming, he asks us to pray for him.

He then goes n to point out the plague that is corruption. Even the Vatican itself has the disease. He likens it to sugar. Although very sweet, even sugar is dangerous and can lead to diabetes. Coruption takes away our peace and is the path to death.

Pope Francis then went on to tell us how he carries two things in his pocket. A rosary and the ways of the cross in a little book. when he carries that, he never loses hope.

After those words, Pope Francis was done. After blessing us, he got into his car and left.

Even though I didn’t get to personally meet him, his words will last with me and my generation for a long time to come.

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