I can’t cope with new status, says Obama’s granny.
Updated 19 hr(s) 42 min(s) ago
By George Olwenya and John Oywa
With only a month to the inauguration of her grandson as America’s 44th President, Mama Sarah Obama has become more than a celebrity.
The American and Kenyan governments have taken full charge of her security with the number of guests visiting her home in Alego Kogelo, Siaya, increasing tenfold since the US election on November 4.
Her movements have been restricted for security reasons and the two governments are monitoring every move at her home as the clock tick’s to January 20 — the day President-elect Barack Obama takes over as the President of the world’s most powerful country.
“She is now a VIP and must be treated as so. We do not want to leave anything to chance,” said a senior police officer at the Nyanza Provincial headquarters.
Sarah’s home, once just like any other in the village, is now teeming with visitors and trappings of power. She now has electricity — which took the Government only a week to install, a fence, a metal gate and a police post.
Mama Sarah Obama
A visitor’s book at the gate and another outside her home reveal the huge number of personalities and organised groups visiting the home.
Some bring with them gifts which include goats and material for clothes.
The Government is now drilling a well at the home. Kogelo Market, once a sleepy outpost, is now competing with many urban centres in the province.
Mama Sarah, 87, has received close to 5,000 visitors since Barack Obama’s historic election as the America’s first black President.
The daily arrival of visitors at her home averages between 300 to 500 guests per day, all of whom she has to greet and speak to.
The Standard confirmed that the US Embassy in Nairobi is briefed on the situation at the home on a daily basis.
Since the victory, Kogelo and particularly Mama Sarah’s home has been turned into a tourist attraction as visitors from far and wide throng to see the village that produced a man who re-wrote the history of the world’s super power.
The ever jovial grandmother has been complaining of a bad knee, yet she has to keep up with a busy schedule.
She has shaken hands with hundreds of thousands of people, posed for pictures with hundreds of dignitaries and fielded questions from countless number of journalists across the globe.
“This visitors are many and I do not even have the time to go to my kitchen to cook as I use to do,” says Mama Sarah.
The grand mother said “Gibiro motamo wan’ga” (they have overwhelmed me) adding that she has not seen such a scenario before.
A chat with mama Sarah behind her main house did not take even five minutes as a security detail attached to her appeared “when I see you I know the visitors want me,” she told the policewoman.