Lately we have been receiving dignitaries in Kenya. I mean, what do you say when the President of the most powerful country in the world comes to visit the country! The place was simply abuzz with action in preparation for the coming of President Obama to Kenya before arrival. However, it was the reception that took the cake.
I am proud to come from a country whose people are known the world over for their warmth. Many tourists who come to Kenya take with them memories of the warmth of the local folks right from the welcome at the airport to the most remote village. It is something to be proud of that despite all the challenges faced in Kenya citizens still maintain hospitality for which they are known on the globe.
I sat watching events during President Obama's visit to Kenya and felt really proud of my people. Who wouldn't be, seeing thousands of people throng highways just for a glimpse of the most powerful man! Don't forget that some of them woke up to begin the long trek to go wait to see him. Some probably had no idea what tomorrow had for them but you know what? They turned up.
It would be difficult for anyone to know the circumstances of the crowds that gathered to see Obama. And in much the celebrated way those who got close to him struggled for a handshake with him. What was phenomenal was the smile on the people's faces. You should have seen the sea of smiling faces right there before him!
We love visitors in Kenya, that is certain.Much as most of us only caught sight of Obama on our TV screens, we had the satisfaction of hosting an important man on the land. Just goes to show how much we enjoy having others come to visit with us.
Then came Pope Francis to Kenya a week ago. Once again the country was thrown into a frenzy preparing for the important visit. This time it was from a man most look up to for his great concern for the poor. It was great for most that this time they could look forward for an interaction (albeit brief) with him. I particularly enjoyed a speech by an Irish nun who has lived in Kenya working in the slums a long time.
Pope Francis took to one slum in Nairobi where he had mass. The turn out was awesome and all along the muddy drive from the city were young and old waiting for a glimpse of him. Must have been a moving scene for him but not so for the people of Kenya.
You see, Kenyans are known for resilience no matter the circumstances. We host visitors with big smiles on the face no matter that things might be falling apart around us. We stand together too and unite to fight for one of our own should trouble call. It is what makes us Kenyans. The love that comes naturally and the obvious joy of having others come to enjoy the beauty of our country. Despite the challenges, God gave us a beautiful country. But most of all, the warmth of our people is undisputed. I doubt anyone can deny this.
Long live Kenya and long live Kenyan people! I am truly proud to be Kenyan. Irrespective.