The downside of being an Obama

Change, good and bad, comes to the President’s relatives in a distant village in Kenya

Obama’s cousin, Hussein Onyango, offers tours of a mat on the dirt floor marking the spot Obama slept when he visited Kenya in 1987. Jimmy Hays Obama, 18, a distant relative, says his teachers now expect him to be more capable and his classmates expect him to buy them Fanta. His grandfather said he tells people, “Look at me, do I look like someone who has money?,” and points out his frayed pants and chronic unemployment. “The African way is that if your relative rises, he’s supposed to help all his family. I try to explain to people that in America, it’s not that way. In America, you can’t give your relatives jobs. There are laws. But they are not convinced.” Life has changed for Obama’s Kenyan relatives. On the upside, his step-grandmother has had her house spiffed up-blue trim, running water, electricity, and 24-hour-a-day security guards-part of the “Presidential Heritage Tourist Circuit.” On the other hand, who wants to live in a shrine?

The Washington Post