From The Times
June 5, 2008
A word of advice for Barack Obama from Granny Sarah
Rob Crilly in Kogelo, western Kenya
Little has changed in the tiny homestead where Barack Obama’s father once herded goats. Chickens still peck for grubs, mangoes ripen slowly in the sun and pots bubble over an open fire.
Only a television aerial held 20ft in the air by a spindly wooden pole marks out the home of the woman the Democratic presidential nominee calls Granny Sarah.
The news that Obama had finally seen off his opponent arrived in the early hours with a telephone call from a relative in South Africa. “I’m just happy to see everyone here,” said Sarah Hussein Onyango, 86, as neighbours and relatives appeared. “It feels as if the hard work has been finished and the rest will be easy.”
Dozens of camera crews, politicians and diplomats have made the journey to the tiny village of Kogelo to meet Obama’s Kenyan family in the past year. If he is popular in the US, he is nothing short of a super-hero in his father’s land, where his twin messages of hope and change have found a ready audience amid the death and destruction of the country’s recent political upheaval.
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Sarah was the third husband of Obama’s grandfather. She brought up his father, also called Barack Obama, as her own until he won a scholarship to the US. The little farm where Granny Sarah raised Barack Obama Sr has become part of the Obama legend. The story of how his father once herded goats in Kenya was key to his 2004 speech to the Democratic convention that first propelled him towards superstardom.
He has visited three times, spending long, dark nights with his grandmother around the fire learning about his roots and submersing himself in Luo folklore. He was in regular touch by telephone during the ethnic violence that rocked the country in January and February, making sure his family was safe.
The family here has always known Mr Obama as Barry, to distinguish him from his father. Granny Sarah said she sees a lot of the father – renowned in Kenya as a brilliant economist and adviser to the country’s first president – in her grandson. “His father was very intelligent and loved people and was down to earth just the way Barry is,” she said.
Two months ago her family clubbed together for a television and solar panels so that she could watch his star rise. But she has one worry: “Barry looks so pale,” she said. “I know the campaign has been long, but I wish he could come here for a holiday so I could look after him.”
Nicholas Rajola, a distant cousin who fought and lost a parliamentary seat in Kenya’s general election, said: “Many in the community here have a lot of expectation that we will have roads built, schools and electricity will come. So we have had to explain that American politics is not like that.” He added that his country’s politicians had a lot to learn from their counterpart in the US. “When we visited him there the man insisted we use his seat in his office. That’s something a Kenyan politician would never allow.”
Isn't she like the only person in his fathers family who's African, not Arab?
They're even stranger than I already thought.
Can't he run for President of Kenya instead?