On the Streets of Nairobi

Let me offer my respectful obeisances to my beloved spiritual master and our entire guru parampara 
All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

Every book distributer has seen magic on the street, witnessed Krsna’s hand in action and felt Prabhupada’s mercy flow as a result of their desire to somehow or other distribute a book. 
And every book distributer has struggled, sweated, maybe even cried when faced with the struggle of this service. 

Usually once or twice a week I put the Brihat Mridanga aside and join the harinama, to chant and dance, as some sort of a “break.” However, I spent one month in Kenya and didn’t miss one day of book distribution, because it was simply too much fun. 

Urugaya Dasa

Most of my time was in Nairobi. We had a small team doing harinama (that at times meant just one devotee playing a drum) and I would distribute books. Imagine a place where almost everyone is god conscious (theistic), you don’t have to struggle to stop people – they come up to you! And no one is aggressive. People are curious, and they stop to listen. They want to be preached too.

The first day out I took a dozen books and finished them within a few minutes. I began to realize very quickly how unique this place is – it is a book distributers dream. 
After a few days I moved from small books to the big books, and then again once I got more confident I started to try sets on people. And many times people would buy one copy of every book I had. I would take a back pack filled full of books, and many days it would finish after just a few hours.

People would come up to me and say I already read one book do you have a different one. 
Yes, they actually read the books. 

Once I was speaking to a boy, he was obviously Christian, interested but holding back because of his faith. He just needed a little encouraging. I saw a man watching and I felt like he was going to disturb us. Sure enough he came up to us, and said to this boy, “don’t worry I am a Christian, this Prabhupada he knows God. These books will make you a better Christian.” Both this man and the boy ended up taking one copy of each book I had.

You didn’t have to be lofty and vague… oh yes yoga meditation or philosophy. No! These books teach love of God. Krsna is the name of God. Chant the names of God. Human life is meant for understanding who you are and what is your relationship with the Lord. It is the most satisfying thing, being able to present the philosophy AS IT IS, without the fear of scaring them off. 

Urugaya Dasa on Sankirtana in Kenya

Don’t get me wrong, there were tough times. It’s not a place to collect big Laxmi. The people are poor, but they can pay enough to cover the cost of the books. Also it took a while for the locals to warm up to us. In the beginning they were very suspicious, but as the holy name entered their ears and each day they saw us, and even began to dance with us, slowly they took books. It was also common for people to come back to the temple with us, and attend some of the regular preaching programs in the temple. I only had an aggressive person just one time and he was intoxicated and easily avoidable. Also, I was doing books with a harinama (albeit at times just one devotee) which made a scene for the locals to become curious. 

We made a habit to go past the section of the city where the butchers work almost every day. They would always chant with us and dance and take many books. It was beyond remarkable. Really you wouldn’t believe it. They looked forward to us coming and would ask us to please come back.

I cannot help but mention the street kids – very young and poor homeless children, but they would always dance with us, and we began to bring them back to the temple each night and feed them Prasad. It was a wonderful program which I hope in the future is evolved more and maintained.

In this place you feel the rain of Prabhupada mercy. I am not saying this just for the sake of it. I never felt so connected to Srila Prabhupada. I KNOW he was pleased with us.

There is so much potential in this place, and now is a unique time where the people are ripe, before they get too much destroyed by modern atheistic culture. 

Christians would take books, Muslims would take books. The people are hungry to know about God. 

We also took a trip to Mombasa, a primarily Muslim town. It was scary at first but they also liked us, and took books. 

The deities and temple are beautiful, the devotees were so hospitable. It was a wonderful experience. Please take advantage of this opportunity and distribute books, distribute books, distribute books.

Hare Krsna! 
Your servant 
Urugaya dasa 

Urugaya Dasa is a disciple of Kadamba Kanana Maharaja. He became a devotee in Sydney, Australia, and has been distributing books almost everyday for the last 5 years. He also travels with Harinamandan Dasa as well as the Sankirtana Team “Harinama Ruchi”.

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