Family is one of the most important, if not the most important thing in our lives. Taking time every day to appreciate your loved ones for all that they do helps us to reconnect as a family. Everyone wants to understand their family history and connect with his/her family roots.
As a young man, at the age of 27, former US President Barack Obama visited Kenya in Africa for the first time, in search of his Kenyan relatives and to better understand his family roots.
..... “I visited my father’s grave and it gave me a sense of satisfaction that no five-star hotel could ever provide because it connected you to your past and the stories of those who came before you. It grounded you and gave you a sense of place that then fortified you for the future.”
In his book Dreams from My Father, the following extract narrates his arrival to Kenya.... Kenyatta International Airport was almost empty. Officials sipped at their morning tea as they checked over passports; in the baggage area, a creaky conveyor belt slowly disgorged luggage .... After a few minutes, a security guard with a wooden club started toward me. I looked around for an ashtray, thinking I must be in a no-smoking area, but instead of scolding me, the guard smiled and asked if I had another cigarette to spare.
“This is your first trip to Kenya, yes?” he asked as I gave him a light.
“I see.” He squatted down beside me. “You are from America. You know my brother’s son, perhaps. Samson Otieno. He is studying engineering in Texas.”
The rush of anticipation had drained away, and I smiled with the memory of the homecoming I had once imagined for myself, clouds lifting, old demons fleeing, the earth trembling as ancestors rose up in celebration. Instead I felt tired and abandoned. I was about to search for telephone when a security guard reappeared with a strikingly beautiful woman, dark, slender, close to six feet tall, dressed in a British Airways uniform. She introduced herself as Miss Omoro and explained that my bag had probably been sent to Johannesburg by mistake ...
“You wouldn’t be related to Dr Obama, by any chance?” she asked.
“Well, yes - he was my father.”
Miss Omoro smiled sympathetically.
“I’m very sorry about his passing.
Your father was a close friend of my family’s.
He would often come to our house when I was a child.”
This had never happened before, I realised; not in Hawaii, not in Indonesia, not in L.A or in New York or Chicago. For the first time in my life, I felt the comfort, the firmness of identity that a name might provide, how it could carry an entire history in other people’s memories, so that they might nod and say knowingly, “Oh, you are so and so’s son.” No one here in Kenya would ask how to spell my name, or mangle it with an unfamiliar tongue. My name belonged and so I belonged, drawn into a web of relationships, alliances, and grudges that I did not yet understand. ...
“Barack!” I turned to see Auma jumping up and down behind another guard, who wasn’t letting her pass into the baggage area. I excused myself and rushed over to her, and we laughed and hugged, as silly as the first time we’d met. A tall, brown-skinned woman was smiling beside us, and Auma turned and said. “Barack, this is our Aunti Zeituni. Our father’s sister.”“Welcome home,” Zeituni said, kissing me on both cheeks.
For the sake of our current and future generations, Obitell is here to help you trace your family roots, connect with loved ones and relatives in the nuclear, extended and the larger family across your ancestral lineage. Welcome to Obitell, live to be remembered across future generations!
Founder & CEO, Obitell Global
Connecting Families, Uniting Nations.