Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: February 11, 2020

A Wellspring of Kindness in the Desert

It was a sweltering afternoon and a relief supply vehicle has traveled for two hours through the vast desert to a remote African village. A group of children and elderly have gathered around in hopes of getting something to eat and drink. Despite their desperation, each person patiently waits their turn and there is never a rush. They gratefully accept what is offered and share what they receive.

Remarkably, such generosity of spirit is the norm, not the exception, in the Kaisut desert of northern Kenya. Despite years of relentless drought, thousands of impoverished children and families experience a wellspring of kindness—which flows like a river into their aching hearts and alleviates the miseries of their lives.

Since 1980, when Salesian missionaries first arrived in the nearby community of Korr, they have dedicated themselves to serving the nomadic Samburu and Rendille tribes, whose survival depends on the availability of water and the health of the herds they tend.

“Nothing grows here,” says Father Luke (Sajan) Mulayinkal, coordinator of the Korr mission. “Mothers have nothing to cook. Children are malnourished, dehydrated and susceptible to all sorts of disease.”

In order to help address this ongoing challenge, Salesian missionaries regularly distribute food to more than 4,800 households in 85 different villages scattered across nearly 40 miles. Traveling in a rugged vehicle, they focus on reaching the most vulnerable first: women, children, the elderly and those who are sick. The effects of their compassion radiate far beyond those who immediately benefit from it.

“They gratefully receive what they are offered, and they generously share what they get,” says Father Jiji Kalavanal of Don Bosco Image in India. This multimedia agency captures and tells Salesian stories like this one around the world. Indeed, in a situation that easily could erupt into violence borne of self-preservation, the people of Kaisut embody Jesus’ selflessness that missionaries model for them every day.

In addition to nutritional assistance, these missionaries also operate a medical clinic, a nursery and primary school, a youth center, a Catholic parish and five outreach locations, all of which are possible thanks to the kindness of our many friends.

(Watch Fr. Jiji’s award-winning ten-minute documentary about Korr.)

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