Salvation Army, Kibera, Nairobi


Today, at the invitation of a friend of a friend, I went to worship with the Salvation Army in the Kibera neighborhood.

We began by marching with their brass band along the dirt alleys. This was the first time I saw an actual Salvation Army marching band, which I always throught of as outmoded Victoriana. It was pretty fantastic—the music was so loud and persuasive that many bystanders marched in place as the band passed.

The terrain was surprisingly foreign to me, and I started following exactly in the footsteps of the person in front of me. All my instincts of walking on pavement or cross-country were wrong when it came to walking on rough ground and garbage, negotiating the drainages, children, chickens, and carts of jerry-cans in an efficient way.


They stopped at an intersection and there was an “open air meeting” church service, with songs, prayers, and testimony. Several church members, rightly guessing that I had no idea where I was or what was going on, stood next to me and provided a running translation of the Swahili service into English.

After about half an hour, we marched to the church building for the “holiness meeting,” a famliliar evangelical service. There were several dance numbers by children or young adults.

The Salvationists were wonderful hosts, welcoming without any pushy proselytizing. I’ll have to get to know the Salvation Army community in Worcester a little better.

Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, with about the population of Worcester.

I covet, but do not own, this calendar.

6 thoughts on “Salvation Army, Kibera, Nairobi”

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey with us Mike; Godspeed to your continued safe adventure. And I’d love one of those calendars too — seems to hold the truth of life in there!

  2. Back in 1997 I had my 1st experience of travelling beyond the borders of South Africa. Having dreamt for many years about visiting my fellow Salvationists in UK where it all started – The Lord chose to send me to Nairobi and here in Kibera I experienced the heart of the Salvation Army. I marvel at HIS sense of humour, where I fantasised about UK and Europe he sent me to the largest slum of this continent to witness & experience true Christianity. Thanks for your message. I have often wondered how this community are faring and it is encouraging to read of your recent experience.

  3. I thank the Almighty God for what you have said.. Every single service, We the Kibera Salvation Army always strive to ensure that every one is welcomed not only in the congregation but also to “Give to the Lord as He has granted to you and showers of blessings will be upon you” Thank you for having fellowship with us you can always come back.

  4. I loved growing up in Kibera as a child my parents were among the first to start community work there of people living with HIV /AIDS………………Kibera gave me a passion to work with people …..gave me and my siblings a different perception of life…..Love live Kibera Salvation Army

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