Pope Francis arrived in Kenya today to begin his first-ever visit to Africa, where he will visit several different countries, including the Central African Republic where religious turmoil is strong. Francis was met by the president of Nairobi, Uhuru Kenyatta, and governor Evans Kidero at the Nairobi airport. Francis’ stay in Africa will see 19 major speeches around the continent.
Pope Francis has not been deterred by concerns for his safety and pledges to venture into war-torn countries all the same. When asked if he had worries about security, Francis answered, “I’m more afraid of the mosquitoes.”
The pope’s visit to Africa is meant to remind the African churches that they do matter, and to remind the peoples of its countries that they matter, too. Francis is expected to visit a slum in Nairobi to encourage young Christians there in the wake of 150 people killed at a college by Islamic extremists in April.
Francis is expected to speak about a number of the issues of interest to him in is campaign, primarily peace between Christians and other faiths, particularly Islam. He will advocate for religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Francis will also discuss poverty in the nations, using the simplicity with which he leads his own life as an example for those living in poverty—or not.
He will also address climate change and the environment, topics which have been a staple of his papacy. Francis’ encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si,” was published earlier this year, and the work is likely to come up in his speeches.
Additionally, Francis will discuss homosexuality, family matters, and contraception, which could be uncomfortable, as the Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, a prevalent illness in African countries.