Salon ran an election day live blog on November 6, and included a post from me in Kogelo, Kenya. Their live blog was fun, and printed some essential info, such as former Chicago Bulls Randy Brown and Scottie Pippen joining the Pres and Arnie Duncan for their election day pick up game. If you want to read my post (which is really no longer relevant as it was published a week ago), you gotta scroll way down to around two in the afternoon east coast time. It’s titled “A dispatch from Kenya.”
Or, I have it reprinted after the jump.
A dispatch from Kenya
Kenya-based journalist Jason Patinkin sends in this short dispatch and pictures from Kenya:
Thunderstorms bear down on Kogelo, the hometown of Obama’s father and extended African family, but the wet weather hasn’t stopped traditional Luo tribal music from pumping at outdoor election celebrations here. In this tiny village among the corn fields and forests of western Kenya, Obamamania is alive and well. For days, locals have prayed for the president’s reelection, and in a mock poll today he won with 146 votes to Romney’s twelve.
But Kogelo’s devotion is more than family pride. Though Obama hasn’t visited since his inauguration, the village has seen real change since 2008. The main road is now paved, new power lines bring electricity to homes, and near Obama’s grandmother’s house a three-year old police station provides security. Drawing on his famous name, the president’s half-brother Malik runs an expansive community center called the Barack H. Obama Foundation, and a local entrepreneur opened a posh resort employing seventeen people.
Despite the development, the mood in Kogelo is more subdued than in 2008, when bulls were slaughtered and parties in the street went on for days. Poverty remains, and some locals don’t want to celebrate too much because the race is so close. For others, the second time around just isn’t as exciting, though they’ll party if Obama wins. History was made in 2008, they say. Now, people hope for four more years of benefits—and maybe a visit from Kolego’s most famous grandson.
People waiting to vote in the mock election:
Boys selling Obama pins: