Residents of Obama's ancestral Kenyan village hope for presidential visit.
July 27, 2015 President Obama’s highly anticipated trip to Kenya has come and gone, but it seems that a certain group of people were singularly unimpressed by a visit seen as a homecoming by many Kenyans.
The village of Kogelo in western Kenya is President Barack Obama’s ancestral homeland, with schools and businesses getting named after him.
Residents like Stephen Okumu, deputy head teacher at Senator Obama Kogelo Primary School hoped the U.S. government will take a special interest in them, and are disappointed that never happened.
“We feel disappointed because when he became president we thought more things would come but up to now, nothing has come but we are expecting that due to his coming in July we are expecting that even the face of the school will change, the school will be face lifted rumors has it so that the school is going to be face lifted and then secondly we as the school we are expecting exchange programmes between American schools and our school we expect a situation where our teachers would be allowed to move to America plus some pupils and then the American schools, pupils and teachers should also come to see how we are learning, we are expecting such things,”.
Other residents wanted Obama to make some time to at least visit his family.
Richard Okello said
“Very much disappointed, we want our boy to come to our place, let him come to greet his gran. Then we shall be the happiest people in the world,”
Sylvans Oiyengo added
“We know he is busy, so busy in the office but in that single day, let him take some five hours with the headquarters of Kenya, another two hours with his family of Kogelo and one hour alone with people of Kogelo maybe in the stadium or wherever he would land in Kogelo. We only need him for one hour.
James Shikwati, an economic analyst based in Nairobi says many Kenyans may have been expecting too much from America’s number one.
“I think over time, I think the expectations sort of felt deflated that, you know, he is the president of the United States of America but I think given our background as Africans how we celebrate our own and how our own then supports us culturally and so forth, I think perhaps we were misled ourselves. We misled ourselves in this sense that we didn’t grasp how the American system works, you know and we just expected that by him being president he will automatically do what for instance your elder brother will do in Kenya or what your tribesman would do in Kenya, that’s why for example in Kenya the politics of tribe is always about, you expect something from your tribesman when they win. So I wouldn’t really say he let us down really, I would say that we failed to use his being elevated to the highest office to our advantage,” said Shikwati.
Obama’s step-grandmother, Mama Sarah, didn’t seem to take it too badly either way. She said
“He is president Uhuru’s guest, that’s what I understand, he is the son of Kenya, not of Kogelo, even you are his brother and every Kenyan is his brother,”