Nairobi (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, a few minutes before 5 pm (local time) on the first leg of his first trip to Africa, which will also take him to Uganda and the Central African Republic, before returning to Rome on Sunday, 30 November.
At Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the pontiff was welcomed by Kenyan officials and religious leaders, and a crowd of thousands of people, including singing, dancing well-wishers, in representation of a country of 43 million, one third of whom are Catholic.
The official welcome ceremony is set to take place at the presidential palace, where the pope’s car drove soon after his arrival. The vehicle is a regular sedan because Francis has excluded the use of armoured cars as well as bulletproof vests, as mentioned in some reports.
This morning, before leaving the Vatican, Pope Francis received a visit at the Casa Santa Marta from several residents of a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
“The 11 women and 6 children were victims of domestic violence or in danger of being forced into prostitution,” Vatican Radio reported. “The women and children greeted the Holy Father just before he departed the Vatican for Rome’s Fiumicino Airport”.
The pope arrived at the airport at 7.40 am and boarded his plane with his black leather briefcase five minutes later.
During the flight, Francis went around the plane to greet each journalist travelling with him on his first trip to Africa.