I’m on the Kisian-Bondo Road (C27). I’ve just met the Kogelo community and I’m on my way back to my hotel in Kisumu.
Kogelo is the village in which Barack Obama’s grandfather and father, both also called Barack Obama, were born. Mama Sarah, Barack Obama’s grandmother, still lives there. Barack is very close to her despite the fact they aren’t related by blood – she’s his grandfather’s third wife.
There are places in the world in which it’s impossible to drive even 20 minutes without getting caught up in fascinating stories. Most of all in Africa. Every kilometre holds something or someone to discover.
I notice a mud hut with an American flag hanging in front of it. I stop. Leaving the car on the side of the road, I go and look.
I pull back the side of the flag and enter the space with respect. A group of men of differing ages are sitting on wooden benches. Some of them can speak English, and we start to talk. They tell me that this is where they come to meet and share ideas, listen to music, plan projects. And they dream about America. But they don’t dream about going there, they dream about bringing it here, to their own land.
The flag is their way of telling the world they exist. To say that Barack Obama has the same origins as them. Yes, we can. The message is clear. Their proximity to Barack Obama’s village fills them with hope. They feel lucky. It’s their talisman.
I decide to take a photo of the American dream in Africa. I need to get everything in the shot: the men, the mud hut, and the American flag. I take the picture, and capture the desire to live with dignity in one’s own land.