Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the Feb. 7, 1986 issue of NCR.
Catholics in Africa -- Analysis
Mwingi, Kitui Diocese, Kenya
More than 1,000 smiling, chanting, dancing people crowded onto the Muiasa family's small plot of land outside the eastern Kenya market town of Kitui. The parish priest had spent all afternoon ferrying them here in his pickup truck, but the dusty road out of Kitui was crowded with pedestrians -- all headed for the celebration -- until long after sunset.
When the festivities began, priests and nuns almost danced their enthusiastic speeches. The whole community turned out -- Catholics, Protestants and followers of traditional religions -- and all roared with cheers and ululations as women from nearby Catholic churches and rural chapels pranced out of the crowd to add their heavy sacks of maize to the enormous pile of grain, more than a ton, given to the Muiasas as a sort of lobola or dowry.