Pope Francis landed in Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon and was given a red-carpet welcome by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, along with traditional dancers and singers. His arrival marks the start of a six-day tour of Africa that will also take him to Uganda and the Central African Republic.
Kenyans began congregating near the highway Pope Francis would travel down a few hours before his arrival.
The mood was one of jubilation, as evidenced by Purity Ndemo, a self-described “staunch Catholic.”
"I'm very excited,” she said. “I've never seen him. I've been seeing him on TV, so I can't wait to see him live."
The sentiment was echoed by non-Catholic Michael Nyamongo.
"I mean, I'm just happy,” he said. “For the first time, the pope is coming to Africa, and I have the experience to see him come to Africa. It's just nice. It's just fantastic.”
WATCH: Related video of Pope Francis' arrival
Bridging this gap between people of all religions and ethnicities is one of Pope Francis' main themes and he touched on it during a welcome ceremony at President Jomo Kenyatta's residence.
"Experience shows that violence, conflict and terrorism feed on fear, mistrust and the despair born of poverty and frustration," the pope said. "Ultimately, the struggle against these enemies of peace must be carried on by men and women who fearlessly believe in, and bear honest witness to, the great spiritual and political values which inspired the birth of the nation."
Watch Amos Wangwa's report:
Kenya has seen terrorist attacks by militant group al-Shabab, while the Central African Republic – the third and final stop of the pope's Africa tour – remains mired in sectarian violence.
And when asked along his route if he worried about the risk of violence during this trip, the pope responded that he was "more worried about the mosquitoes."
The pope is expected to address topics like helping the poor, giving hope to the youth, caring for the environment and leading through good governance throughout his African tour.
Pope Francis will meet Thursday with Catholic leaders, as well as those of different faiths, and will hold Mass at the University of Nairobi. He also is scheduled to meet with officials at the United Nations Environment Program.