UPDATE: The trip dates have been changed to 21-29 February.
ORIGINAL: In less than two weeks—February 14th–I’ll be going to Kenya for the first time, courtesy of an old blog fan-friend who prefers to remain anonymous for now. As I said here, it’s a dream come true. To give you some background on my life and some context on my upcoming trip, I’m linking to one of my very first posts at Da Tech Guy blog, Stranger Than Fiction.
- I was born in August of 1961.
- My biological father is Kenyan and of the Luo tribe; my mother is American.
- My parents met when both were attending the same American college.
- My parents divorced when I was very young; afterward, my father returned to Kenya.
- For half of my childhood, I was raised by older relatives of my mother.
- My mother suffered from ovarian cancer.
- My maternal grandmother died in 2008.
- One of my half-sisters is nine years younger than I am. She is married to a man of a different race than she.
- I am left-handed.
Some of these things may seem familiar, if innocuous. But one thing is certain: all of these things are also part of the biography of a man named Barack Hussein Obama. And some of the dissimilarities have symmetry.
- I am a woman.
- I am a conservative.
- Both of his parents and his step-father are dead. Both of my parents and my step-father are living. (My mother survived her bout with ovarian cancer and yet another battle with that evil malady; my father, Philip Ochieng, appeared in Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary, 2016: Obama’s America, and was a friend of Barack Obama, Sr.)
- I was raised by my great-aunt and great-uncle in the first half of my childhood. President Obama was raised by his grandparents in the last half of his minor years.
Here’s the important question: which one of us is the Bearded Spock?
My father and I will be meeting face-to-face for the first time in my memory; he returned to his home country when I was an infant and I did not hear from him until the Internet Age when, at age 35, I went searching for him online. As it turns out, he’s a famous journalist on the entire African continent and, while I’ve achieved only a modest amount of fame through writing, it’s for certain that this acorn has very many attributes of its tree.
Philip and I have not spoken to each other during most of Barack Obama’s presidency. Yes, it’s about my opposition to that presidency, to that person. But my father is approaching the beginning of his ninth decade on earth and I am eternally grateful that I will have the chance to honor my father at least once.
More in the next post. Oh and, yes, I’ll be posting from Kenya during my two-week sojourn.
ADDED: Kenya Trip Wishlist at Amazon.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.
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