Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mama Obama

The weekend in Kisumu was fun.  We ate great Indian food, watched the Olympics (a bit of an upset to see Uganda take the gold in the men’s marathon, but still impressive that Kenya picked up the silver and bronze), and even made it to a club (not really my thing anymore, but fun to see what clubbing in western Kenya is about).  I’m back in little ol’ Sagam town now, and getting ready to turn in for the night; but I wanted to write a quick note about today’s events first.

Today was a good day. We met up with a group of US college basketball players that came to Kenya as part of a goodwill mission. They’ve been holding some basketball camps as well as visiting local sites, including some orphanages. None of the students had ever been to Africa, and many hadn’t left the States before this trip. They seemed pretty awestruck at this opportunity to see how a lot of the world lives.

After breakfast, we all hopped on a big, green, rattling school bus and headed out to the house of Mama Sara Obama, the grandmother of none other than President Barack Obama. Outside a pretty humble home (with the cool amenities of a satellite dish and solar panels), Mama Obama sat and chatted with us via a translator in her native Luo language.  She said that Barack had always been a good student, and she seemed very proud of him, having traveled all the way to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration in 2008 (though she said she remembered how very cold it was there).  We sat in the shade of a tree and listened to her talk about the importance of supporting orphans, while chickens, cows, rabbits, and a very fat turkey roamed the yard.  Barack’s grandfather (who apparently lived to reach 105 years) and father are buried there, and we were allowed to visit their graves. All in all it was a very nice visit, and I’m grateful for the chance to have met such a vibrant, pleasant woman. 

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