Obama wave hits Kenyans, tourists

January 20, 2009 12:00 am

, KOGELO, Kenya, Jan 20 – More than 2,000 Kenyans and tourists united in song and dance on Tuesday to celebrate Barack Obama’s inauguration in Kogelo, the Kenyan village where the new US president’s father was born.

The grounds of Kogelo’s school were thronged by Kenyans who took a day off work and donned their best clothes to come from around the Lake Victoria region to watch their hero be sworn in on a giant screen.

A festival kicked off last week in the usually sleepy Rift Valley village which residents now like to describe as "the local capital of the world."

"I’m from Kogelo and this is a happy day. This is an incredible opportunity for us, because a lot of investment will come," said 20-year-old Faith Achieng.

"It’s already thanks to him we have electricity and water."

Revellers engaged in traditional dances from Obama’s Luo tribe as others waved US flags.

Several tourists changed their safari plans to be in Kogelo, where the crowd outnumbered the revellers who had gathered for Obama’s November 4 election triumph against John McCain.

"The atmosphere is so colourful, it’s like Christmas has come to Kogelo a second time," said Joseph Oluoko, who works in the village.

Obama’s step grandmother Sarah and most of the new US president’s other close relatives still living in the village are in Washington for the inauguration.


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