He has been here for quite a very long time. Sometime I wonder who is more Kenyan, is it him or I? You see, he has been here since ten years before I was born. Equally long, he has been a missionary plying his trade along the coast. He is, to some Christians, the priest (the only priest) because they were born, grew up, got married (and some died) knowing him as such. He however says that some doubt his priesthood obviously because of familiarity. One day, as a parish priest he blessed a newly built church and the Christians doubted the blessings. Apparently, the prefect of Garissa was supposed to come and bless the church, on that fateful day, it rained and the prefect never turned up. Since the celebration was already set, the blessing of the church had to be done by Fr. Joe. A few years later, it rained heavily and true to the doubts of the Christians, the church he blessed was washed away by the floods. The Christians said, “We knew, his blessings could not sustain that church.” Nonetheless, it never took him long to build another better church for them, after all, that is what he does best, setting up firm and better foundations for all that he does!
I tend to think mentally ill people around here see him as one of them. Every time we are coming from mass in the morning, there is a mad fellow at the entrance, “nataka kumuona Fr. Joe.”(I want to see Fr. Joe). Fr. Joe always says “Mungu anawatuma wote kwangu,” (God sends all of them to me) and I say, “It is your ticket to heaven Fr. Joe” After all, he knows all of them because he is in touch with all around him!