Christianity among the Nomads: The Catholic Church in Northern Kenya

Article excerpt

Christianity Among the Nomads: The Catholic Church in Northern Kenya. By Paul Tablino. Nairobi: Paulines Publications, 2004. Pp. 312. $8.

This specialized book will be of great interest to the few people on earth who happen to know the geography and history of the Northern Frontier District of Kenya. Unfortunately, it is not about Christianity in the broad sense but deals only with the closely prescribed practices of the Consolata Missionaries, founded in 1901 at Turin, Italy. This focus can explain why one-third of the book is devoted to the vision and struggles of the founding fathers and bishops.

Surprisingly, little is said about the formation of the heroic band of men and women who set out to fulfill that vision in a land of unimaginably harsh conditions. Even less is said about the eight, mostly nomadic, ethnic groups who wander over that terrifyingly bleak land-seven pages covers them all. Whatever the title of this book may suggest, the content is not "among the nomads." It is chiefly about building mission stations that will serve any nomad who cares to give up his animals and come to the towns where the Catholic fathers are living.

This directionisevenmore regrettable in light of the insights of Father Angelo DaI Canton, the indefatigable pioneer who was the first Christian missionary to cross Kenya's awesome Kaisut volcanic plain. …


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