Obama Receives Hero's Welcome at His Family's Ancestral Village in Kenya

U.S. Senator Barack Obama delighted crowds with a homecoming speech Saturday in his family's ancestral village of Nyangoma Kogelo, Nyanza province, in western Kenya.  The Senator made time to visit his grandmother and other family members, while on an unofficial six-day tour of regional development and AIDS projects in Kenya.

The Illinois Senator began his tour of western Kenya on Saturday morning by taking a voluntary HIV test in Nyanza General Hospital to encourage an AIDS prevention campaign in the highly affected region. He then received a joyous reception from thousands of people at a primary school in his late father's village.

Senator Obama, who grew up in the United States, traces his father's origins to the small and humble village close to the shores of Lake Victoria in Eastern Africa.

In his speech to well-wishers, Obama expressed a deep sense of solidarity with this small community and the Kenyan people. He said his father's remarkable life is the story of what is possible when a community comes together to support its children.

"He grew up around here. He was taking care of goats for my grandfather, and, maybe, sometimes, he would go to a school not so different from the Senator Barack Obama School," he said. "Except, maybe, it was smaller, and had even less in terms of equipment and books, the teachers were paid even less, and, sometimes, there wasn't enough money to go to school full time. Yet, despite all that, the community lifted him up, and gave him the opportunity to go to secondary school, then go to university in America, then get a Ph. D. in Harvard..."

Obama is only the fifth African-American to ever sit in the U.S. Senate, and his trip to Kenya has been highly anticipated by his relatives, the community and local politicians.

He has also used his personal connection to Kenya to challenge the country's leaders about good governance and fighting corruption. He warned that aid packages alone will not deliver development, and said the key to Kenya's success will come from its own people.

 The Senator's wife and children were by his side, as he gave his commitment to help make sure that children around the world will have an equal chance for higher education and wider opportunities.

"That's why I'm so dedicated to trying to make sure that our young people, in Kenya, in the United States, in the Congo, all children can be well, all children can get the medicines that they need, all children have the opportunity to study, and, ultimately, get employment, so that they in turn can support a family, that all children have that same opportunity," continued Obama. "There is no reason why we can't do that. We have enough resources. We have the knowledge. We have the technology. What we lack is the commitment and will."

Obama has been on a five-nation tour of Africa, taking time to visit his father's home and relatives in western Kenya. This is his third visit to Kenya since the death of his father, Hussein Obama. All of Nyanza province helped prepare the heroes welcome that included T-shirts, baseball caps and even a local drink named after the celebrated senator.

Senator Obama is devoted to fighting HIV/AIDS and has made a personal donation of $14,000 to an AIDS orphan care facility in Kenya. He is also committed to making Africa a top priority in American foreign policy.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs