From the 26th to the 30th of November 2008, 7000 young people from different regions of Kenya as well as from other African countries and other continents met together in Nairobi. It was the second international meeting organized in Africa by the Taizé Community, after one in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1995. This stage in the “pilgrimage of trust on earth” was hosted by more than eighty parishes of the different Churches of Nairobi. Its aim was to help create more fraternal relationships, and to move beyond the mistaken views of others perpetuated by the lack of contact between peoples and by the wounds of history.The Taizé Community has been present for 55 years on the African continent by small groups of brothers sharing the lives of the very poor. Over the years, brothers have lived in Algeria, Ivory Coast, Niger, Rwanda and Kenya. For sixteen years now, some brothers have been living in Senegal, in a predominantly Muslim district of Dakar.Desmond Tutu, the Anglican archbishop emeritus of Cape Town (South Africa), writes: “Africa is a place where crucifixion and resurrection find their deepest meaning, and where building trust and reconciliation is an ongoing daily reality… We are all children of God and in Christ there is no Rwandese or Congolese, there is no Burundian or Kenyan, no Nigerian or South African: we are all one in Christ Jesus. I know that this is the message that the Taizé Community also proclaims and that they are in solidarity with us as we press this message home in South Africa, across the whole continent of Africa and in the rest of the world where ‘fear of the stranger’ still needs to be turned into friendship and reconciliation and trust.”In Africa, trials do not take away that sense of dignity which is so often evident among the very poor. The difficulties of life do not banish joy; a serious outlook does not exclude dancing. Many are those who refuse to give in to despair. Women are often in the forefront; with inventiveness and perseverance they take on a great many tasks in family and society.In the face of the divisions that are tearing the continent apart, many people continue to strive courageously for reconciliation and pacification. Christians are called to hold on firmly to this hope: the bond of baptism in Christ is stronger than divisions. There are African Christians who have paid for that conviction of faith with their lives.This “Letter from Kenya,” written by Brother Alois for the year 2009, was made public during the young adult European meeting that brought together 40,000 young adults in Brussels at the end of December 2008.
All over the world, society and the ways people behave are changing rapidly. While unprecedented possibilities of development are multiplying, instability is growing too and worries about the future are becoming more pronounced. 
For technical and economic progress to go hand in hand with greater humanity, it is indispensable to search for a deeper meaning to existence. In the face of the weariness and helplessness that many people feel, the question arises: what is the source from which we draw life?
Already centuries before Christ, the prophet Isaiah indicated a source when he wrote: “Those who hope in the Lord renew their strength; they run and are not exhausted; they walk and do not grow weary.” 
Many more people than in the past are unable to find this source. Even the name of God is fraught with misunderstandings or else is completely forgotten. Could there be a link between the disappearance of faith and the loss of a zest for life?
How can we clear away whatever it is that obstructs the source? Surely by being attentive to the presence of God. There we can draw hope and joy.
Then the source begins to flow once more and our life becomes meaningful. We become able to take responsibility for our life—to receive it as a gift and to give it in our turn for those entrusted to us.
Even if we have very little faith, a reversal takes place whereby we no longer live centered on ourselves. By opening the gates of our own heart to God, we prepare the way for God to come for many others as well.
Taking responsibility for our life
Yes, God is present in every person, whether they are believers or not. From its very first page, the Bible describes in a beautiful and poetic way the gift that God makes of his breath of life to every human being. 
By his life on earth, Jesus revealed God’s infinite love for each person. In giving himself to the very end, he allowed God’s yes to pervade the depths of our human condition.  Ever since the resurrection of Christ, we can no longer despair of the world or of ourselves.
From that time on, God’s breath, the Holy Spirit, has been given to us for ever.  By his Spirit who dwells in our hearts, God says yes to what we are. We never tire of hearing these words of the prophet Isaiah: “The Lord will take pleasure in you, and your land will be married.” 
So let us consent to what we are or what we are not; let us even take responsibility for all we have not chosen but which makes us who we are.  Let us dare to be creative even with what is not perfect. And we will find freedom. Even when overburdened, we will receive our life as a gift and each day as God’s today. 
Led beyond ourselves
If God is in us, he also goes ahead of us.  He takes us as we are, but he also draws us beyond ourselves. At times he comes to unsettle our life, overturning our plans and our projects.  Jesus’ life helps us to enter into this way of looking at things.
Jesus let the Holy Spirit lead him onward. He never stopped referring to the invisible presence of God his Father. That was the basis of his freedom, which led him to give his life for love. In Jesus, a relationship with God and freedom were not mutually exclusive but rather reinforced one another. 
In all of us there is the desire for an absolute; we aspire to it with our whole being—body, soul and mind. A thirst for love burns in each person, from infants to the elderly. Even the greatest human intimacy cannot completely satisfy it.
We often experience these aspirations as a lack or as emptiness. They can sometimes cause us to lose focus. But far from being an anomaly, they are part of our being. They are a gift; already they contain within them God’s call to open ourselves.
So each person is invited to ask themselves: what steps forward am I asked to take now? It is not necessarily a matter of “doing more”. What we are called to is to love more. And since love requires our entire being to express itself, it is up to us to find ways of being attentive to our neighbor, and to do so without waiting a moment longer.
What little we can do, we must do
Helping one another to deepen our faith
Too many young people feel alone on their inner journey. Two or three persons can already assist one another, sharing and praying together, even with those who affirm that they are closer to doubt than to faith. 
This type of sharing is greatly reinforced when it is integrated into the local Church.  It is the community of communities, where all the generations gather and where people do not choose one another. The Church is God’s family, that communion which draws us out of isolation. There we are welcomed; there God’s yes to our existence becomes a reality; there we find God’s indispensable consolation. 
If parishes and youth groups were first of all places of heartfelt kindness and of trust, places of hospitality where we are attentive to the weakest!
Going beyond the compartmentalization of our societies
If we are to take part in building a more united human family, is not one of the urgent tasks to look at the world “from below”?  That way of looking entails a great simplicity of life.
Communication is becoming easier and easier and yet at the same time societies remain highly compartmentalized. The risk of mutual indifference continues to grow. Let us move beyond all that keeps us apart! Let us go towards those who suffer! Let us visit those who are neglected and mistreated! Let us think of the immigrants, so close to us and yet often so far away!  Where suffering intensifies, practical projects, which are all signs of hope, are frequently seen to be on the increase.
To struggle against injustice and the threat of conflicts, and to encourage a sharing of material goods, it is essential to acquire skills. Persevering in one’s studies or in professional training can also be a service rendered to others.
If there are scandalous forms of poverty and injustice that are plain to see, there are other kinds of poverty that are less visible. Loneliness is one of them. 
Prejudices and misunderstandings are sometimes passed on from one generation to the next and can lead to acts of violence. There are also forms of violence that seem harmless, but which in fact do great damage and which humiliate others. Mockery is one of these. 
Wherever we are, and whether we are alone or with a few others, let us search for practical things we can do in situations of distress. In this way we will discover the presence of Christ even in places where we would not have expected to find him. Risen from the dead, he is present in the midst of human beings. He goes before us along the roads of compassion. And already now, through the Holy Spirit, he is renewing the face of the earth.