Ol Kalou Jews, Central Province, Kenya
Located in close proximity to the Aberdare range and the famous Nakuru rift lake, the Ol Kolau Jewish community of Kenya is probably the smallest and the youngest of all the Jewish communities in Africa. Counting about 70 people, the community is situated in the villages near Ol Kolau, surrounded by fields, lakes and national parks with zebras and antelopes freely walking around. They mostly make their modest living from growing maize and have to protect their fields carefully from ravenous hippos that often come to visit from the nearest lake. The community members belong to Kikuyu people and do not claim any connection to Jewish roots. They converted into Judaism after leaving a Messianic congregation popular in this region about 15 years ago after they met Jews of European origin from Nairobi and learned from them about basics of Judaism. However after a while the Jews of Nairobi made it clear to them that they are not interested in supporting emerging Jewish communities in Africa. They tried to learn more about Judaism from books they searched in libraries. The real breakthrough for the community occurred in when they established connection with the Abayudaya Jews in the neighboring Uganda. They Kenyan Jews travel to Uganda for circumcisions, conversions and other ceremonies and send their children to study there in Jewish schools. They do not have electricity and warm themselves with fire on cool Kenyan nights, however their only yearning is knowledge of Judaism, and not for more comfortable living conditions. They do not have a Torah scroll and their synagogue looks more like a sukkah, a tent on poles with the benches inside. Nevertheless they can conduct all the religious services in proper Hebrew and their accomplishments in Judaism, faith and determination are truly inspiring.