Incidentally, Barack Obama’s uncle, Said Obama, works at the molasses plant. President Obama has recently been quoted in a number of papers attacking the Kenyan government, providing the example of a relative who has had trouble finding a job since it is common for employers to require bribes. Clarice believes he was referring to Said, but don’t quote me on that.
It is well-known that Kenyans are Obama-crazy, but there is actually some conflict behind all the hype. Ages ago, when Obama was just a senator, he spoke at a university in Kenya and criticized the government for its corruption. Many Kenyans scolded him in the media, saying he was just a junior senator and had no authority to speak on behalf of either the US or Kenya. It was not even when he ran for president, but when he clinched the nomination, that Kenyans (Luos and Kikuyus alike) started calling him their “native son.” It is a joke now that everyone seems to have suddenly developed a blood relation to Obama, including Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
But now that he has “snubbed” Kenya in his visit to Africa, citing the corrupt government as his reason for not visiting, Kenyans are once again divided with many kindly advising him to stick to his own country.
By the way, Said also took a picture of the three of us with his mobile phone since we were the first Americans to visit him at the plant!
Leave a note
Making Do is an investigation into systems of innovation in Kenya's informal economy. Learn more and read the book online or in print here.
I'm Steve Daniels. I study the transformative impact of technology on individuals and societies. I am the founder of the Better World by Design conference at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design and Analogue Digital, a publisher of content related to global cultures of technology. Currently, I work at IBM Research, where I study mobile social computing in emerging markets.
I am particularly interested in how people create, adapt, and use technology in resource-constrained environments, which I have written about in Making Do: Innovation in Kenya's Informal Economy.
- Emerging Futures Lab
- Future Perfect
- Information Aesthetics
- Maker Faire Africa
- Smarter Planet
- Timbuktu Chronicles
- White African