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Come home to your roots, schoolgirls tell US President Barack Obama

COUNTIES
By Frank Otieno | July 3rd 2015

KISUMU: Cynthia Mwende, a Form Two student at Barack Obama Secondary School in Kogelo, Siaya County, has written to US President Barack Obama asking him to visit the school.

With carefully selected words, the letter addresses the president with full cognisance of his undisclosed itinerary when he lands in Nairobi on July 24 to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Amid cheers from residents who gathered at the school during the launch of the Sports, Culture, Investment and Tourism Expo, Mwende captured the attention of the crowd when she told the President how the school community holds him dearly in their heart.

“The news of your coming to our country has made us happy and proud. We rejoice with the rest of Kenyans on your planned trip to our beloved country... But what is more significant to us as students of a school named after you, and a school you had the opportunity to visit while in Kenya when you were still a senator, is the fact that you will be coming home to your roots. Since your roots rest where our school stands, we feel much honoured to share in such a respected name- Barack Obama Secondary School,” the letters reads.

Siaya has a history of “firsts.” The first Kenyan lawyer in the colonial era was the late Argwings Kodhek from Gem, Siaya County. The late Grace Ogot, apart from being the first elected woman Member of Parliament, was also the first Kenyan woman writer to have her literary work published.

Mwende’s letter thus seeks to remind President Obama that he is among the “firsts” in Siaya.

“We realise this is a significant trip because it is laced with many firsts; the first time a sitting president of the US is visiting Kenya and the first time the global entrepreneurship summit is taking place in Africa,” Mwende said amid loud applause.

The jovial girl handed the letter to Governor Cornel Rasanga, who promised to take it to the US Embassy in Nairobi this week.

“I’m leaving immediately in the company of Mama Sarah (Obama’s grandmother) to take this letter to the US High Commissioner to request him to deliver it to White House. The content of this letter is genuine and it is fair that the US President heeds these students’ call,” said Mr Rasanga.

In the letter, the students ask President Obama to give consent to renaming of the school, to be known as President Obama Secondary School, since the current name was adopted when Obama was a senator.

It reminds Obama that residents hold him in high esteem and remains so close to their hearts.

“As you plan to make this great trip, we would like to reach you through this letter and let you know that the impact of your work has had great influence in our lives here in Kogelo. Having read your inspiring book ‘Dreams from My Father’, we realise that we can also have dreams of our fathers and achieve them only if we work hard,” reads the letter.

“Even though we know that you will have a busy schedule while in Kenya, we pray that you might find time, however briefly, to visit our region, our school, and the place where your ancestors rest,” it concluded.

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