2023 World Day for the Poor at Nairobi’s Nyumba Ya Wazee

2023 World Day for the Poor at Nairobi’s Nyumba Ya Wazee

“Do not look away from the poor” (Tobit 4,7) was the theme for the 2023 World Day for the Poor which was celebrated for the seventh time by the Church on 19 November 2023. It is an appointment, Pope Francis explained, “that the Church is progressively rooting in its pastoral care, in order to discover more and more the central content of the Gospel”.  The Holy Father urged everyone to work toward providing free healthcare, medical examinations, vaccinations, and bill payment assistance to those in need.

It was in response to this year’s theme and Pope Francis’ call that our Embassy of the Order of Malta and the Companions of Kenya elected to spend this day with the elderly and infirm at Nairobi’s Nyumba Ya Wazee located in Kasarani, a home for the elderly which is run by The Little Sisters of the Poor. In this home 66 elderly women and men are looked after in a clean, serene and orderly place of at least 10 acres of land.  The residents have at their disposal a beautiful garden and benefit from good quality cemented floors, corridors and compound where they can move conveniently with their wheel chairs.  The other advantage of this home is that it is conveniently located on Thika Road near the Neema Hospital (a facility the Order supports from time to time) where the residents are rushed to hospital when they become ill. It is here at the Nyumba ya Wazee that the Servant of God, Cardinal Maurice Otunga, co founder of the home in the 1990s, chose to spend his final years in order to be close to ordinary men and women, his „age mates“ as he called them.

The day started off with Mass at the Chapel with the residents, sisters and other members of the surrounding community.  After Mass, the Chargé d’Affaires Dr. Franco De Paoli and his wife Marinella, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Apostolic Nunciature, Msgr. Luciano Labanca, Mr. Sam Mattock’s wife, daughter and mother and some Companions of Kenya, namely Ms. Nwando Dike, Mr. Alex Oketch and Mr. Adam spent some personal one on one time with the Residents.

The Embassy contributed to the home a substantial amount of food, household cleaning materials and some other necessary supplies. In addition, it made a cash donation to help with the enormous monthly expenses.

The Sisters spoke of their work at the home and similar homes all over Africa. The Embassy and the Companions of Kenya look forward to taking up the Sisters‘ invitation to visit frequently in order to volunteer and simply converse with the residents.

The day spent at Nyumba Ya Wazee was a most humbling experience.


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