Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., chatted Wednesday with Antoinette Sitole, sister of Hector Pieterson, during his tour of the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto, South Africa. The picture they are looking at shows child protesters gunned down by police 30 years ago in Soweto.
Obama's Kenya trip grabs attention
The U.S. senator and his family are on a six-day visit and will see his grandmother
NAIROBI, Kenya » Hawaii native Barack Obama might have only landed yesterday for his latest visit to his father's homeland, but the U.S. senator has already become the country's most prominent "citizen."
People drinking a Kenyan beer called Senator are ordering "Obama" instead. Obama's photograph is popping up on T-shirts, and the once knee-high grass in his ancestral village was cut in advance of his arrival.
As the only African American in the Senate, Obama is seen as an inspiration in this African country where more than half its 33 million people eke out a living on less than $1 a day.
Obama arrived yesterday for a six-day visit, and planned to meet with President Mwai Kibaki and stop at the site where Nairobi's U.S. Embassy was bombed in 1998, killing 248 people.
The Illinois Democrat, his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia, 8, and Sasha, 4, were greeted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi by U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, the embassy said.
Just an hour after his plane touched down, Obama's arrival was making headline news on the country's leading television stations, and local journalists chased his entourage as it left the airport.
"Village beats the drums for returning son," declared the Daily Nation newspaper, the most widely read in Kenya.
In Nyangoma-Kogelo, a tiny village tucked away in the rural west, residents have been preparing for weeks for Obama's return. Local newspapers reported that the dirt road leading to his 85-year-old grandmother's house was leveled.
Local media reported that Sarah Hussein, who will have to communicate with Obama through an interpreter, will treat him just like any other grandchild.
Obama grew up in Hawaii with his American mother after his parents divorced. He has visited Kenya three times, most recently in the early 1990s to introduce his then-fiancee to his Kenyan family. This is his first trip to Kenya since being sworn into office as a U.S. senator.