Rising From The Slums

LEO P. DIVINAGRACIA, from Pototan, Iloilo, is a Mill Hill Missionary theology student studying in Tangaza College ( in Nairobi, Kenya. You can learn more about Kibera, where the author does pastoral work at, and The main website of the Mill Hill Missionaries, whose official name is St Joseph’s Missionary Society, is

I left the Philippines for my theological studies here in Nairobi, Kenya, on 11 August 2006. To leave our families and friends and stay in a place where we are total strangers is indeed very difficult. This is the life of being a missionary: as we journey we must learn to let go even if it is very difficult.

My Mission Experience

by Jimmy Lindero

The author, from the parish of St Julian de Cuenca, Janiuay, Iloilo, a seminarian of the Mill Hill Missionaries (, is continuing his studies in NairobiKenya.

The author (rightmost) with friends in Kenya

Chaplain At Work In Kenya

By Fr. Jerome Cayetano svd

Bishops Cornelius Kipng’eno Arap Korir, the bishops of the Diocese of Eldoret, had made an urgent appeal to the SVD Superior in Rome to send a missionary to help out in the chaplaincy work of his diocese several years ago. His request was finally granted and Fr. Jerome Cayetano was sent to Kenya in 1996.

I started my chaplaincy work at Moi University (Chepkoilel Campus) and Eldoret Medical Department in February of 1996. Fr. Crowley, the part-time chaplain of these institutions for four years, gave me a good orientation before I began my new assignment.

The Maasai of Kenya

By Fr. Eufemio Sombrio, svd

In nearly forty years, this is my first time to celebrate Christmas away form my homeland. Before I left for Africa last January, I already heard reports from many missionaries abroad that indeed there is no place like home especially in terms of celebrating Christmas. Now that I am a Filipino in Africa, I’d rather say that Christmas in Kenya compared to the Philippines is both similar and different. Different because of our cultural traditions like the Misa de Gallo, like listening to Christmas songs as early as the month of September, or house-to-house caroling. But it is also similar because the message of Christmas to the Africans remains the same that “the WORD was made FLESH and DWELT among us.”

Mid-Life Switch

By Sr. Natividad Lucila, OSB

Sr. Natividad Lucila, a Filipina Benedictine, spent many years in Campus Ministry and vocation work in Batangas. But she has know been assigned to the novitiate in Nairobi, Kenya. Here she shares her first impressions....

I always had the impression as a child that the whole continent of Africa was a very hot place to live in.  But I was mistaken in thinking so.  For in some parts of Kenya , like Nairobi, the climate is cool, especially in Karen where our convent is situated. No wonder that a variety of flowers, plants and fruit trees abound. Had I the charism of St. Francis of Assisi I could have added an epilogue to his Canticle of Nature. Because Kenya’s virgin forest and green vegetation and less polluted environment, the country is favorable for maintaining wildlife, one of God’s beautiful creations.

Nomads No More

By Sr. Rebecca G. Macugay, MM

Cecilia Wanjiku, at trainer with whom I work in the community Based Health Program in our parish, was just wrapping up the morning lessons on immunization of children when the rain clouds hovering above the halakesa tree (a variety of thorn tree) where training seminars were held released a gentle rain. Abashira, one of the community health worker trainees, directed us to her hut for cover. We huddled inside her “min”. (The min is the name of the small Orma house made of long thin poles bent to form an igloo-shaped structure, covered with palm and other kinds of grass and held together by colorfully dyed strips of bark). Abashira gave us an update in her home visiting activities. These seminars-under-the-tree or in a make-shift “min” are a recently developed feature of our health ministry.

A Human Volcano?

By: Sr. Veronica Origenes, OSB

Cooler Than Baguio
Through Kenya sits in the Equator. Nairobi, its capital city is naturally air-conditioned. Mount Kenya, the sacred mountain of the Kikuyu people is snow capped all year around. So all the surrounding areas are cool, cooler than Baguio.

Fleeing from Terror in Rwanda

By: Sr. Martina Machacon, OSS

How it Started

The conflict started with the shooting down of the plane of President Juvenal Habyimana, the President of Rwanda on April 6, 1994. Immediately after the incident, communications were cut off and Kigali was blocked. People started evacuating the city with their few belongings in a bundle on their heads to escape being killed.

Letter from Kenya

By Sr. Fidelis Jardiel OSB

This is a letter from a Filipino missionary, Sr. Fidelis Jardiel OSB, who works in Nairobi, Africa. Her picture is on the cover this month. Would you like to drop her a line?

Dear Fr. Dom,

Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya. The enclosed photo was taken in the Lerio Valley where the Pokot and Marakwet tribes live. Actually, this photo was taken when I was once for holidays in the valley. These are two Pokot women and a baby we met while visiting some of them who lived nearby. The Pokots are a nomadic tribe, who speak only their own tribal language, very poor and l live in the bush. In the photo, one sees that language is not a barrier when we speak the language of love especially, when we reach out to others and make them feel accepted. The mama of the baby is delighted and full of joy when I myself feel joy in carrying her baby. I think this is a good catechesis in bringing people together, that are brothers and sisters, and that we have on Father, the God who loves us immensely.