Kenyans celebrate as son of soil Obama gets set o become 44th US President

January 20th, 2009 - 12:47 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Nairobi (Kenya), Jan.20 (ANI): Americans aren”t the only ones celebrating Barack Obama’’s ascendancy to the US presidency. Kenyans too are embracing the American-born son of a Kenyan man as one of their own.
“I feel so great because he’’s one of us, he’’s like a brother to us,” Fox News quoted 27-year-old Nick Otieno, as saying while displaying his Barack Obama t-shirt.
One of nearly a million Kenyans who live in Nairobi’’s sprawling Kibera slum, Otieno has no running water or electricity, but he owns two Obama shirts. He knows the date Obama will enter office, and already has his plans in order.
“We shall be celebrating the whole day and the whole night because that day we shall be sure that [Obama] is now the president,” he said.
For Otieno, Obama’’s victory is personal: he is a Luo, a member of the tribe of Obama’’s father. Much of Obama’’s family still lives in Kenya, and Obama’’s Kenyan grandmother will be attending his inauguration.
Members of the tribe living in Kibera expect much from Obama. Otieno hopes Obama will work with Kenya’’s prime minister to bring infrastructure to Kibera.
It is something the government has promised for a very long time and it has never come to pass,” he said.
Forty-six percent of Kenyans live in poverty, but Obama’’s success half a world away is a source of inspiration.
Nairobi’’s streets reflect the influence of their new icon. “Kenyans for Obama” bumper stickers festoon the cars that ply the roads, and many of the colorful matatu minibuses that crowd the streets carry images of Obama’’s face inside the halo of a 100-dollar bill.
Kenyans say they are proud of the first black man ever elected president of the United States, and many stop to speak about the man they consider a native son.
“I am happy, I am looking forward to a better kind of world through Obama’’s presidency,” said a woman, Nthenya, who carried her infant child on her back.
“We expect much from him as far as Kenyan life is concerned — even us, the people who are staying in the slums here in Kibera,” said Otieno.
But others say Kenyans have to rise out of their own rubble. “I don”t believe in handouts,” said Michael Omolo Ombok, a 36-year-old who runs a car service in Nairobi. (ANI)

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