The hullabaloo surrounding the visit to Kenya by US President Barack Obama was non-existent when he first came here in 1988 as a jobless 28-year-old waiting to join Harvard Law School. Again, in 2006, local politicians did not even have the courtesy of giving the then Illinois Senator air time.
But now that he is coming as the President of America, his visit will surely disrupt life in Kenya, a country he fondly writes about in his sentimental bio, Dreams from My Father, which he authored while still a law student. A whole chapter is devoted to Kenya.
We detail his experience during that first visit to Kenya. We have no record of you here In his first few days in Kenya, Obama endured a torturous moment after his luggage was misplaced after his arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in 1988.
Having flown in a Johannesburg-bound British Airways flight, his bag was mistakenly sent to South Africa. Although a “strikingly beautiful woman” from the airline called Miss Omoro assured him that the bag would be shipped to him the following day, the future US president had to endure rude and callous staff in his ensuing visits to the airport. “At the British Airways desk, we found two young women discussing a nightclub that had just opened. I interrupted their conversation to ask about the bag, and one of them thumbed listlessly through a stack of papers,” Obama writes in Dreams from My Father.
“We have no record of you here. Go downtown if you want to talk to someone else,” he writes on. After a heated exchange, a friend of his father, introduced to him by his half-sister Auma, rescued the situation since they were friends with Maduri, the manager. Waiters had no time for thin ‘pointie’ Obama and Auma decided to have lunch at The New Stanley Hotel after a tour of the city, but to his shock, Obama writes, the waiters had no time for this thin young “pointie” and his black “girlfriend.”
“For some time, they managed to avoid my glance, but eventually an older man with sleepy eyes relented and brought us two menus,” Obama recalls. “His manner was resentful though…” recalls Obama. Sip of chang’aa exploded in my chest In Kogelo Obama, would go to the market with granny Sarah, carrying a gunia, an image that is eternally etched in time through a memorable photo. But during one of his nocturnal village runs accompanied by half-brother Roy, he was taken to a chang’aa den where a toast was made in his honour.