CHANGING THE COURSE OF HISTORY
Opinion: There is a tiny village in Kenya with a great impact on the world history. The name of the village is Alego Kogelo and it is situated in Siaya District Nyanza Province.
It used to be a bushy untamed village with no tarmacked roads, no electricity, no water piping, no hospitals, and only skeletal schools where pupils and students sit on stones and classes were taught under trees without books and other materials for learning.
Teachers were underpaid and mostly relied on the donations and contributions from able parents, maybe after these had sold out their livestocks so that their children could go to school and have an education. It is a village where the main economic salvation was agriculture by tilting land using the bare hands and a special traditional hoe - a ”jembe”.
The village Kogelo had a double tragedy in the past. Firstly, it was a very poor village with nothing to show. Secondly, it falls under or within the province Luo Nyanza which was abandoned by the ruling government for decades for not supporting the authoritarian rule. In that context, it was receiving no support worth mentioning from the central government, like other districts or provinces.
Fruits of hard work
It is ironic that this is the village from where the famous human rights lawyer and Member of Parliament Argwings Kodhek came, who were later killed mysteriously in a road accident, supposedly fingered by the government, in the 1960’es.
The village became a hub of professors - of which, just to mention a few, were professors Wandiga and Wanyande of the University of Nairobi, professor Kokuaro of Kenyatta University, the late professor Barack Obama senior [man with pipe, Ed.], and professor Bethuel Ogot - vice chancellor of Moi university.
Kogelo is the only village in the whole country of Kenya, where a majority become professors and doctors. This has given the village reason to brag.
The region of knowledge
The people from this region loves education, particularly the tribes Luo and Abagusii who live in the Nyanza province.They say that education was their only hope, and indeed they have excelled in academics. Geographically the region lies between the famous Lake Victoria to the West and East of the Kakamega forest with a predominantly Equatorial type of climate.
It has a good soil for agriculture - the red alluvial soil - and in this area mostly maize, sorghum, millet, and potatoes are grown for subsistence.There are also small rivers and lakes serving the whole area, and traditional fish farming is practiced, in contrast to large scale fishing using trawlers.
Religion plays an important role in the region. The majority are Christians, with minorities of Muslim and other denominations. A traditional practice which was a norm, but which has now died out, is the removal of the six lower teeth. However, some still adhere to it. It takes courage to undergo that ceremony, because it is done by the traditional medicine men.
Airlifts to the USA
Excellent academic performances led a large number of the educated children of Kolego to be airlifted to study in the United States of America by means of scholarships. One example is Barack Obama Senior, who is the father of the current president of the United States.
The fruit of these airlift was noticeable when Barack Obama Junior was elected the 44th president of the United States, and that became the changing point into a new era of Alego Kogelo, where the grandmother of president Barack Obama lives together with other members of his family.
Kogelo - a changed village
As such, Kogelo produced the currently most powerful man in the world. Since that, things have changed drastically for the village. First the government became much more friendly and improvements like erecting electricity poles were done in a flash.
The improvements happened in a record time of two days, directly in relation to Obama family home and the adjacent schools and shopping center. The roads were also tarmacked and schools were build and equipped with complete computer labs, biology labs, physics labs and an amphitheater hall.
Kogelo now boasts to have one of the best world class hotels in that country side of Kenya, and others are under construction and are due to be completed by end of 2011. All these developments have really boosted the once sleeping area in terms of development. The village receives a weekly average of 300 to 500 tourists and more than 200 visiting locals.
Mama Sarah’s home
Obamas grandmother, Mama Sarah Obama’s home has been provided with security and a police unit. All this development is attributed to the determination of the Luo community in school and it is a big tribute to the people, who loves books and anything academic.
Luos are by the way very proud Africans which can clearly be read from their slogan “which e dhano”, which means “the human being is the brain”.
Among the others, who came from Kogelo and achieved a great academic career, Barack Obama, or “Barry” has especially made the people from the village very proud. These are people who believe in academic credentials, and many of them went to the famous Harvard University, just as Barry - the current president of the United States.
Asylum and the law
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