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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Kenya ready to fete Obama return
Men holding Obama T-shirts
Kenyans see Mr Obama as one of their own
Kenyans are preparing a hero's welcome for US Senator Barack Obama, who has started his first visit to his father's homeland since his 2004 election.

The road to his family village of Nyangoma Kogalo in western Kenya has been upgraded and local residents have been busy cutting the grass.

Pupils at a local school have been rehearsing a song to welcome him.

Mr Obama is the only black US Senator and is seen as a rising star of the Democratic party.

He landed in Nairobi and is expected to travel west at the weekend.


The BBC's Muliro Telewa says Mr Obama will need to speak to his grandmother Sarah Hussein Obama through an interpreter, as she does not speak English.

"He will learn [Luo, the local language]," she told our reporter.

Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama is to take an Aids test in Kenya
Before leaving the US for his tour of Africa, Mr Obama tried to dampen expectations that he would go "home" laden with lots of aid.

"There is a sense that somehow I can deliver the largesse of the US government," he was quoted as saying. "And I can't."

But the barefooted children at the school 1km from his father's grave sing: "We need a modern library to help raise our standard of education."

Others hope he will fund better access to water.

Vendors have been selling T-shirts with the slogan Senator Obama, Welcome Home.

Kenyans have also renamed the local Senator beer "Obama".

"Most people have forgotten the real name of the beer because we want to identify with Obama," drinker Carillus Onyango, 24, told the AFP news agency.

"He is the only senator we know of, he is close to us and we are proud of him."

Mr Obama is expected to take an Aids test in the nearest city, Kisumu, in order to encourage local people to take the test themselves.

Kisumu has one of Kenya's highest rates of HIV prevalence.

He began his African tour in South Africa but has cancelled plans to visit Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

Profile: Barack Obama
03 Nov 04 |  Americas


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