Dancing Kogelo folks welcome former US President Obama

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Former US President Barack Obama, arrived in his father's ancestral home of Nyan'goma village in Alego, on Monday, where dancing relatives thronged the streets, singing and dancing to welcome him.

Obama hailed the villagers of his father's ancestry for their show of friendship as he presided over the launch of a new sports complex.

The complex, comprising a basketball court, a football pitch, an information and technology centre and a youth skills enhancement centre has been built by Obama's sister, Auma Obama, through her organization, the Sauti Kuu Foundation, a Non-Government Organisation.

"I am grateful to you for your friendship," Obama said, appreciating the villagers, mostly from his father's Kogelo clan.

In his speech, Obama appealed to the youth in his father's home village to embrace basketball as a sport.

"I hope you give basketball a chance and love it the way I do," said Obama, an astute basketball player.

Obama addressed the youth in his father's village, appealing for discipline amongst them.

"I hope you know that if you put efforts, you will be rewarded. Even if you are the best player, you have to put efforts to win," Obama told the youth attending the launch.

The former US President arrived in Nairobi to a low-key reception before heading to a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta and later with opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The former President is accompanied on the visit by his sisters, Auma, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and members of the Obama Foundation.

Odinga and Obama's talks focused on the Building Bridges Initiative of President
Kenyatta. Odinga is known for his handshake which ended Kenya's most protracted political crisis.

The two also discussed the youth empowerment and education and Kenya's efforts to bring peace to South Sudan.

During the talks, Obama expressed full support for the Building Bridges Initiative and the war on corruption.

The former US President called for greater induction of the youth into the initiative as a way of ensuring its deepening into the future.

Obama pledged to initiate a number of programmes to empower Kenya's youth through his Barack Obama Foundation.

Obama's visit to his ancestral home was the first since he became President of the US. His last visit there was in 2006 when he was still a Senator.

Obama recalled his first visit to the Kogelo Clan to the house of his grandmother, Sarah Obama, when he was 27 years old.

He recalled traveling on a slow train service from Nairobi to Kisumu, before boarding a bus from the town of Kisumu to the village. Obama recalled carrying chicken on his laps and walking for miles on a diet road.

"I am here as a global citizen with a connection to Africa," said Obama.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 16July2018

16 july 2018 18:04:14

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