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Bye bye Pope Francis

27 November 2015, 17:16

Nairobi — The latest on Pope Francis' first trip to Africa. (All times local.)


4.15 p.m.

Pope Francis has left Kenya and is bound for Uganda, the second leg of his tour of three nations on his first visit of Africa.

At the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi, he was welcomed by traditional dancers, some in Maasai dresses, children waving the Vatican flag and choirs.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and other officials bid farewell to the pope, who arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people lined the roads leading to the airport to wave goodbye to Francis.

During his stay in Kenya, he has spoken out about the environment, corruption, human rights and poverty — issues that are close to his heart. He also visited a slum in Nairobi before embarking.

—Tom Odula, Nairobi


1 p.m.

Pope Francis says the way to prevent young people from being radicalized and going off to fight with extremist groups is to give them an education and a job.

Francis was asked Friday during his last public event in Kenya what young people can do to prevent their friends and family members from being seduced by radical ideologies that make them want to leave their loved ones behind to go join extremist groups.

Kenyans make up the largest contingent of foreign fighters in the Somali based al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab, which has staged a series of attacks in Kenya.

Francis said the first thing to do is to ensure that young people have an education and a job. He said: "If a young person has no work, what kind of a future does he or she have? That's where the idea of being recruited comes from."

—Nicole Winfield, Nairobi


12 p.m.

Pope Francis has urged Kenyan youths to resist the temptation of corruption, saying it's like sugar: You develop a taste for it but it's ultimately terrible for you.

Francis spoke off-the-cuff Friday to thousands of young people gathered in Nairobi's Kasarani stadium, and reflected on problems raised by two young Kenyans, including tribalism, extremism and corruption, which is a major obstacle in Kenya.

Francis said corruption isn't just in politics. He said: "It's in all the institutions, including in the Vatican there are cases of corruption."

The Vatican has been wracked by recent revelations in two new books detailing gross mismanagement and waste.

Transparency International has voted the Kenyan police force as the most corrupt institution in the country every year for the last decade. Kenya ranked a low 145 out of 174 countries in the Transparency International 2014 index of how common graft is perceived to be among citizens of various countries.

—AP writers Nicole Winfield and Tom Odula


11:20 a.m.

Pope Francis is taking notes as young Kenyans are telling him about the problems they are facing dealing with tribalism, drug and alcohol addiction and violent radicalization.

Francis had a speech planned for his final public event in Kenya on Friday, but all indications are he's going to ditch it as he often does when he meets with young people.

Francis received a rock star welcome when he arrived at Nairobi's Kasarani stadium and spun around the track in his open-sided popemobile.

— Nicole Winfield, Nairobi


10:25 a.m.

Pope Francis' final public event in Kenya is a huge youth rally at the Kasarani sports stadium, where thousands of flag-waving young Kenyans are waiting in the stands.

The crowd has erupted in cheers when President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived and the atmosphere is similar to a rock concert.

Francis will hear testimony from several young people and then offer his own remarks.

After the stadium, Francis has a private meeting with Kenyan bishops and then heads to the airport later Friday.

The next stop on his three-nation African tour is Uganda.

—Nicole Winfield, Nairobi


9:45 a.m.

Pope Francis is denouncing the conditions slum-dwellers are forced to live in, saying access to safe water is a basic human right and that everyone should have dignified, adequate housing.

Francis made the comments during a visit Friday to the Kangemi slum on Nairobi's northwestern edge. He insisted that everyone should have access to a basic sewage system, garbage collection, electricity as well as schools, hospitals and sport facilities.

Francis told the residents that people forced to live in slums actually share values that wealthier neighborhoods can learn from: solidarity and looking out for the poor. But he says it's unjust that entire families are forced to live in unfit housing, often at exorbitant prices.

He called for a "respectful urban integration" with concrete initiatives to provide good quality housing for all.

— Nicole Winfield, Nairobi


9:10 a.m.

The parish of St. Joseph's in Nairobi's Kangemi slum has erupted in cheers with the arrival of Pope Francis.

Francis greeted some people in wheelchairs in the front row before bowing down to receive a blessing and signing a guest book on Friday.

Mombasa Archbishop Martin Kivuva welcomed Francis and said he should feel at home in Kangemi.

The parish is run by the priests of Francis' Jesuit order.

Kivuva told Francis: "Welcome to our home, Kangemi, home of the Jesuits."

— Nicole Winfield, Nairobi


8:25 a.m.

Residents of the Kangemi slum in the Kenyan capital, where Pope Francis is arriving this Friday, say they lack some of the most basic services.

Emily Night, a mother of two who works at the parish's HIV counseling center, says the pope's visit is giving hope to Kangemi residents who often cannot afford garbage pickup, or even the treatments necessary to purify water to make it safe for drinking.

She says the city pipes in water only three days a week, Tuesday through Thursday, but it's not safe to drink.

"Some people don't have toilets in their homes," she says as she waited for Francis to arrive.

She adds: "Those that do, maybe 50 people are using it!"

— Nicole Winfield, Nairobi


8:15 a.m.

Residents of Kangemi, alongside goats scrounging through garbage, are lining the Nairobi slum's unpaved streets waiting for Pope Francis to arrive.

In the tin-roofed St. Joseph's parish, which serves the neighborhood of single-story mud brick shacks, children from the parish school, wearing T-shirts with Francis' photo on them, are singing hymns.

The 16-year-old Valarie Mamarome says she hopes Francis' visit will put an end to corruption, so rampant in in Kenya.

She says corruption "leads to people being poor."

Her friend, Orpha Khavere, says she wants to go to university to become a lawyer "to fight corruption."

— Nicole Winfield, Nairobi


6:30 a.m.

After celebrating his first Mass in Africa, Pope Francis is turning his attention to society's most marginal in a visit to a sprawling slum on the northwestern edge of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Kangemi is one of 11 slums dotting Nairobi, East Africa's largest city. The shanty itself has about 50,000 residents living without basic sanitation. Most of the capital's slums comprise a maze of single-room mud structures with iron-sheet roofing or cramped, high-rise buildings.

Francis referred to the problem of urban shanties in his speech to the African U.N. headquarters on Thursday, saying everyone has a basic right to "dignified living conditions," and that the views of local residents must be taken into account when urban planners are designing new construction.

He said that this will help eliminate the many instances of "inequality and pockets of urban poverty, which are not simply economic but also, and above all, social and environmental."

The message was keenly felt because the U.N. Habitat program, which seeks to promote adequate and environmentally sustainable housing, is based in Nairobi.

— Nicole Winfield, Nairobi

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- AP


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