On August, 3rd and 4th, CYNESA volunteers in the Coastal City of Mombasa – Kenya, joined millions of people of good faith across the world in fasting for climate. Under the #Fast4climate254 campaign, 25 youth, from the Muslim and Christian communities in Mombasa, joined in prayers for the care of our common home.
The first day of fasting saw participants fast in their respective areas of duty, including schools and homes while engaging each other on social platforms with encouraging messages and reminding themselves of the importance of positive interaction with the environment. They shared relevant information on how the environment is being harmed and the cause of the drastic climate changes being experienced globally.
The participants also took photos of themselves holding a poster written “I #FAST4CLIMATE” and uploaded them on their social media profiles for friends and followers to see, and as a way of raising awareness to the public on the issue of climate change.
The participants also had a special poem on environment which acted as a common activity that bonded them together. The poem was recited four times a day; morning, noon and evening just before breaking the fast and at night before bed time. The four times reflected the most common times that people pray. A copy of the poem can be found here: http://cynesa.org/962/.
The idea of the poem was most engaging as the participants joined in the recitation in their respective congregations. The Catholic participants (who were the majority of the participants), joined Parishioners at St.Marys Catholic Church – Changamwe for an evening mass said by Rev. Fr David Kalua who is also the Mombasa west Deneary Youth Chaplain. During his homily Fr. Kalua acknowledged the efforts of CYNESA and the youth in caring for environment and urged the members too to be cautious and protect creation since it is a command from God. He further took time to mention Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si: On the care of our common home, which was released in June terming it as a very important direction towards protecting the environment.
Later the participants gathered in a group where they recited the poem together, broke the fast and shared their experiences on environment, climate change and the fast.
For example, Jessica Mandi shared how peaceful she could feel inside knowing that the fast was about her survival and that of the world. Despite the thirstiness and crave for food, she still felt the energy to carry on. She was happy that she pulled through 2 days and she plans to continue doing the same, one day every month.
Suvillan Ndege on the other hand experienced a rising motivation to care for the environment more than ever. She explained how hurt she felt when she saw a person throwing garbage in unacceptable areas. However, she took the courage to explain to the person on the importance of throwing litter in its designated areas.
It was very inspiring to see the participants acknowledge some of the mistakes they made towards harming their environment but more importantly the positive steps and the change of attitude that they had after the fast.
Fast for climate 254 is an exercise conducted monthly in different counties and on different dates in Kenya, with the aim of making people aware of climate change issues and lobby policy makers to prioritize laws that will mitigate climate changes factors. It is an idea co-coordinated by the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA) and Green Sun Cities.
Coast region volunteer coordinator, CYNESA.