Kenyans Couldn’t Be More Excited for the President’s Visit. The Elaborate Preparations Are Being Called ‘Obamacare.’

New York
Nairobi, Kenya

24-kenya-obama-banner.w529.h352I had not spoken to George Obama in years, not since co-writing a story on the far-flung Obama diaspora for this magazine in 2009. But last week, President Barack Obama’s youngest half-brother called. By coincidence, I was in Kisumu, the western Kenyan city closest to Obama’s ancestral village, waiting to meet another of Obama’s relatives, his half-uncle Said, for an interview.

After a few pleasantries, George asked me when I was coming to see him. Then the conversation took a familiar turn as he asked whether I would buy him lunch, a well-known Kenyan euphemism for slipping someone some cash. I declined, we chatted a bit more, then hung up. Continue reading Kenyans Couldn’t Be More Excited for the President’s Visit. The Elaborate Preparations Are Being Called ‘Obamacare.’

The pub that played a part in Kenya’s, and Obama’s, history

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Nairobi, Kenya

George Anyim, 44, sits at table surrounded by wooden benches said to be Barack Obama Snr's favourite 'unwinding' spot at Kaloleni public bar (AFP Photo/Tony Karumba)
George Anyim, 44, sits at table surrounded by wooden benches said to be Barack Obama Snr’s favourite ‘unwinding’ spot at Kaloleni public bar (AFP Photo/Tony Karumba)

The stale smell of last night’s beer hangs in the Kaloleni Public Bar, a down-at-heel tin-roofed tavern sandwiched between a butchery and a panel beater in Nairobi’s Eastlands.

 In its heyday the insalubrious boozer was a favourite of Kenya’s founding politicians and President Barack Obama’s father, Barack Obama Senior. It was here that he had his last drink of whisky on 24 November 1982.

Afterwards, he left in his pickup truck, crashed into a tree and died, aged 46.

The proprietor, George Anyim, is a 44-year-old barrel of a man with a cannonball head and a greying goatee beard. He is the third generation of Anyim to run the pub having inherited it, and its stories, in 2003. Continue reading The pub that played a part in Kenya’s, and Obama’s, history

Maximum Sun Protection

Monocle
Djiboutiohanesian_djibouti__m9u8148-3_86To get to Japan’s only foreign military base you pass a whitewashed mosque, cross a disused colonial-era railway line and turn onto an unfinished dirt road where a fine fog of choking dust is thrown up by rumbling trucks. The 12-hectare base in Djibouti is next to an airport a few kilometres from the sea, occupying a scorched chunk of desert and rock on Africa’s northeast coast that is among the most sought-after military property on Earth. Clustered around Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport’s single runway are the biggest foreign French base in the world and the largest US base in Africa, as well as Italian, German, Spanish, EU and Japanese facilities, all of varying size, ambition and function. Chinese and Russian bases are in the pipeline. Continue reading Maximum Sun Protection