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Barack Obama is my inspiration, says brother

NAIROBI, August 24 – George Hussein Obama, 26, was discovered this week living in a shack on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital Nairobi. He told The Daily Telegraph that although he had hardly spoken to his half-brother, the Democratic candidate’s book Dreams Of My Father was providing the inspiration to lift himself out of poverty.

"When you have a brother who wants to be the number one most important person in the world, it obviously gives you a lot of inspiration," Mr Obama, 26, said at his corrugated tin shack in a Nairobi slum.

"There was a long time when I was just taking a break, doing nothing, trying to find myself and what I wanted to do. Now I am more focused on my future, and I can say it is because I understand more about things because of hearing what Barack is doing."

Mr Obama said he has had only two brief conversations with the presidential candidate when he visited his Kenyan family two years ago. They have the same father as the Illinois Senator, but a different mother, Jael, who is now an American citizen living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Barack Obama’s Kenyan family is scattered across the country, including his grandmother and uncle in the west close to Lake Victoria and several aunts and cousins living in Nairobi.

But this is the first time that his half-brother George, who had been unheard of until this week, has spoken to the British media.

The half-brothers’ father died when Mr Obama was just six months old, and he was raised in Nairobi by his mother and a step-father, a Frenchman working for the European Union.

He lived in South Korea for two years from 2001, when his mother moved there for business, he said.

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When he returned to Nairobi he became distanced from his mother and slept rough for several years before being offered his simple room in a small compound owned by his aunt, Barack Obama’s older sister.

He now in more regular contact with his mother, but has no phone and can rarely afford the costs of the international call.

"It was difficult not knowing much about my father, but when I read Barack’s book, Dreams Of My Father, I learnt a lot and it really helped me to understand my past and my family," he said.

Today, Mr Obama is studying to be a mechanic at a college close to his six foot by eight foot one roomed home on a muddy road behind the Soldiers of Faith Church in Nairobi’s Huruma slum, one of the more violent areas of the city.

"Huruma is a tough place, last January during the elections there was rioting and six people were hacked to death," he said.

"The police don’t even arrest you they just shoot you. I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists."

Now, the shy but bright Mr Obama said, "I want to work hard and get myself to somewhere more comfortable".

He will not be calling on his famous brother for help, however.

"We have only met twice, once when I was five or six, and again in 2006," he said. " I cannot say that we are close, he probably does not even think about me. I am not going to start pestering him, I don’t want to look to him for help, I want to achieve things for myself.

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"I don’t even tell people that I am related to Barack Obama, I don’t want people here to be harassing me because they think I have money or influence. I have nothing like that, I am a person who likes to live quietly.

"I don’t have any ambitions to do anything like politics, in Kenya, that means nothing. I read the newspapers, but only the sport section. Sometimes I am sure there are things about Barack which I miss, but it doesn’t matter to me.

"Of course, if I was in the US I would vote for him, I think everyone should. But I am a bit biased," he joked.

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