Former US President Barrack Obama has opened up about his unforgettable visit to Kenya in 2006.
Obama, who was the Senator for Illinois at the time, arrived in Kenya as part of his four-country African tour to raise awareness on HIV/AIDs as well as reconnect with his roots. He was in the company of his wife Michelle Obama and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
In his newly-released memoir, the 59-year-old says he and his family were stunned by the kind of heroic reception they got from Kenyans.
He notes that thousands of people lined up along the roads to wave at him as he made his way to Kogalo Village, Siaya County where his father was born.
“We were surprised to see people lined up and waving alongside miles of highway,” Obama writes.
He adds that his security had a rough time trying to shield him and his family from a huge crowd that surrounded them.
Obama writes that the only time they got an opportunity to breathe was when they visited the Base Camp Masaai Mara in Mara Game Reserve.
“Only when we went on safari, parked among the lions and wildebeests, did we escape the commotion,” Obama adds.
He also recalls an incident where things almost got out of hand after he and Michelle stepped away from his security detail to take a public HIV test.
“And when Michelle and I stopped at a mobile health clinic to publicly take an HIV test as a means of demonstrating its safety, a crowd of thousands showed up, swamping our vehicle and giving the diplomatic security team a real scare,” Obama notes.
Obama visited Kenya for the first time in 1988 when he was 27 years old and came back with his wife four years later in 1992.
His third visit was in 2006, two years before he was elected as the first Black US president in 2008. He made history as the first sitting US president to visit Kenya in 2015.
His last visit was in 2018 when he inaugurated the ultra-modern Sauti Kuu Foundation Sports, Resource and Vocational Training Centre in Kogelo, which was built with the support of the Obama Foundation.