In Former President Barack Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope, he detailed how his wife, Mitchelle encountered experiences that erased the wonderful mental picture she had of the country.
As an African American, Michelle was bursting with excitement about the idea of visiting the continent of her ancestors.
However, the trip quickly turned sour after she heard about experiences of Kenyan life.
Michelle heard stories about how Kenyans suffered at the hands of security forces.
She was heartbroken when Obama’s cousins explained to her how difficult it was to find a job or start a business without paying bribes.
Activists the Obamas interacted with told them tales about being jailed for expressing their opposition to government policies.
“Even within my own family, Michelle saw how suffocating the demands of family ties and tribal loyalties could be, with distant cousins constantly asking for favours, uncles and aunts showing up unannounced,” Obama narrated.
On their flight back to Chicago, Obama’s wife admitted she had been looking forward to returning home.
“I never realized just how American I was,” she told her husband, cherishing the freedom she enjoyed in the US.
In her own testimony on her memoirs, Becoming, she also highlighted other aspects about the visit that did not please her.
She experienced her disappointment right from the airport as Barack’s sister, Auma Obama, had quite a dilapidated car.
“Auma’s sky-blue VW was so old that it often needed to be pushed in order to get the engine into gear,” she explained.
The former first lady had bought new white sneakers to wear on the trip, and within a day her shoes turned reddish brown, stained with the cinnamon-hued dust of Nairobi.
The awful experience could be the reason why she did not accompany Obama in his previous visits to Kenya in 2006 as the Senator of Illinois and 2015 as the President of the US.
She also skipped his most recent visit when he came to open his sister Auma’s the Sauti Kuu Foundation in July 2018.