I spent most of December in Africa, leading pastor training seminars, and a five day conference. In the two seminars, 150 pastors/workers attended from 50 churches in the area of far west Kenya, in the vicinity of gorgeous Lake Victoria.
While I was in Kogelo Village, we stayed at a place owned by Nicolas Regula, a cousin of President Obama. He led the Kenyan delegation to the first inauguration of his cousin in Washington D.C., and has visited twice since. I had many great conversations during the time we were there with him. Just before my departure, he took me to meet Mama Sara, his and President Obama’s grandmother at her compound, guarded by security at the gate. I had an excellent time with her/them. She speaks the language of their Luo tribe, so Nicolas translated. The conversation with her was spirited and constructive. The serious subject which she wanted to talk to me about of HIV/AIDS and Widows/Orphans quickly became easy and comfortable to discuss. When she asked me how to help her raise money for her projects to address these issues, I suggested that she call her grandson. She asked me to call him; she asked me to take something of our discussion to him. I told her I would make a deal with her. I asked her to call her grandson, and if he promised to personally answer the telephone, and if he promised personally to meet me at the door, to count me in. This scenarios occurred several times, and she just laughed and laughed. Just before leaving, she asked Nicolas to give me her private cell telephone number, which I heard later was quite extraordinary. Her gesture of trust and pleasure of our meeting was the main thing, as our languages differ. When I asked of it later, Ms. Jane just said to call her and say, “Hi Mama Sara…this is Richard…” “She will understand that, and know it is you.” I attached a photo you can click on if you would like to see her and Nicolas. The second photo is of Nicolas there, resting on the tombstone of Barrack Obama, Sr., the President’s father.