Alego Kogelo Village Kenya – To date, Kogelo remains to be a famous touristic village since the election of the 44th and First African-American President of the USA.
Visitors still come to Kogelo Village to witness the birth place of the father of the American president who happens to be a Luo by tribe.
The late Mama Sarah Anyango Obama become famous as the grandmother of the then President Barack Obama and she involved herself as a celebrity of the Universities in Kenya due to her communal charity activities as the Sarah Obama children Foundation for the orphaned children. She earned two honorary degrees from Tich and Moi Universities respectively both in Kenya.
Back to history, it was in the year 2007, that marked the meteoric rise of a then relatively not well known Senator from the United States became a global phenomenon. Gunning for the presidency and going by the catchy slogan “Yes We Can”, Barack Obama soon became an icon of collective hope and progressiveness to not only Americans but also the whole world.
Around the world, everyone wanted a piece of Barack Obama’s victory and this didn’t leave behind Kenyans, and his village kinsmen many of whom claimed him as “our son in the US.” This was by virtue of Barack’s father, Barack Obama Sr., having his ancestral roots in Kogelo village in the Western Kenya.
A year before the historic development, Alego Kogelo wasn’t appearing anywhere on the Kenya’s map and remained relatively an unknown sleepy village by the banks of River Yala. In the year 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama made a pilgrimage to visit his grandmother in the desolate township of Nyang’oma Kogelo with its dust-tinged corrugated iron roofs and dusty roads. But this changed as soon as he emerged victorious in the US presidential elections.
Nyang’oma Kogelo, a trading center without good access, electricity, adorable learning institutions and generally poor infrastructural investment soon became an instant attraction. This was a smack on the Kenya’s government face. In return, the Kenyan government began making improvements in security, health facilities and roads in the area at large.
All these wasn’t in vain. Today, Alego Kogelo is a thriving town with a lot to offer both to the natives and guests equally. Kogelo has remained vibrant economic hub in the once sleepy village and now acts as a trade center and most significantly, as a magnetic tourism destination for Western Kenya.
Visting Alego Kogelo
To reach Kogelo, you first need to get to Kisumu. Kisumu can be accessed by road about five hours’ drive or by air from Nairobi.
Kisumu is served by Kisumu International Airport which has international status, with regular daily flights to Nairobi and Mombasa. Expansion of the airport cargo facility after completion of the passenger terminals is currently going on in anticipation of increased trade brought about by the recreated East African Community of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
From Kisumu City, the road to Kogelo is a 40-kilometer leisurely drive to the west. To get there, you take the Kisumu–Siaya road and branch off at Ng’iya junction. On your way there, you may want to stop for a photo session at the Nyang’oma Kogelo Equator Line. The equator is the imaginary geographic line that cuts the earth into two hemispheres. One of its marked points is located near Ng’iya Market on the way to Kogelo.
At the Obama homestead, you will see the hut by which Obama took the famous photo of him holding a sack full of potatoes standing next to his grandmother, long before he became popular.
Traditionally, guests would sit down with the late Mama Sarah Obama – the widow of Obama’s grandfather – under a mango tree. This accorded an opportunity for chit chats and photography. A guided tour to the family graveyard is an eye opener as it takes you back to their Obama’s family tree.
Apart from the Obama’s home there are some places of interests. You can have a guided tour with permission to the Senator Barack Obama Secondary School, named after the US president, and the Kogelo dispensary, where Obama very publicly took a HIV test in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. You can also go to the market and mingle with other traders and it will be very good to be shown where the late Mama Sarah Obama used to sell her commodities.
Though Mama Sarah Obama is deceased, her home is under very knowledgeable hands of her youngest daughter, Marsat Obama and her brother Saidi Obama. Both are very welcoming and equally charismatic enough to share with you the Obama’s rich history. It’s also possible to visit their organic farm and their dairy cattle section within their farm.
Guests traveling to Alego Kogelo will not only experience the pilgrimage, but also be exposed to a number of other intriguing local attractions in the Luo land. Please, find more day trip activities listed below.
Kit Mikaye – This is an integral Luo cultural shrine with three gigantic boulders pile on top of each other. The site is located about 1 km off the Kisumu-Bondo road and about 29 km west of Kisumu city.
It the tallest rock structure in the Kangeso locality standing at about 80 feet while resembling a lady with a load on her back.
The cultural shrine has lots of myths and stories surrounding, and you will be amazed to hear these folklores and even get a chance to visit the caves. They area often used as worshiping sites of the Legio Maria and other denominations.
Equator Point at Maseno – A stopover at the Equator Point at Maseno, located few meters from the main gate of the Maseno University, the Equator Point at Maseno is less touristic as compared to the Mogotio and Nanyuki respectively.
Kisumu City Tour – On the Oginga Odinga street, a tall clock stands on the roundabout of the road. It was unveiled in 1938 by the then Commander-in-chief and governor of Kenya, HE Chief Marshall Sir Robert Brooke Popham.
The Town Clock was erected in memory of Kassim Lakha, who came to East Africa in 1871 and died in Uganda in 1910. It was built by his sons Rahimtulla, Hassan, Alibhai, and Mohamed Kassim, as the writing on the clock reads.
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