two presidents

I referenced Obama's visit to Kenya in an earlier post. It was a big deal for Nate and Ben. Maybe not as big a deal as it was for Kenyans, since it was the first time an American president has ever visited the country, but it was big: both of their presidents sharing a stage.

Nate and Ben go to a Kenyan private school, not an international one. Even though it's just nursery and early primary school, they learn bits about Kenyan history and culture. They can sing the Kenyan national anthem (I know only the first part). They recognize the president, and why shouldn't they? His picture is posted in every establishment in the country. They learn folk songs for multiple tribes. Nate even has a very basic understanding of colonization and the fight for independence. They don't know so much about America (though I try to use holidays as opportunities to introduce America stuff), but with Obama's visit, they were able to at least learn who their other president is.

Nate and Ben are often called "mzungu" (aka white person) by Kenyans, especially kids, pointing and staring (sigh). As such, they identify themselves much more as American than as Kenyan. Nate noticed that Rodgers and I have different skin when he was a toddler, but only recently has he been realizing that this makes him a mixture. He's American and Kenyan, mzungu and mgiryama.

I think a lot (maybe too much) about the duality of our family culture. Before getting married, I read a handful of books about cross cultural relationships and families. I talked with Rodgers about it frequently.

Seeing the two presidents together, seeing Kenyans' reaction to Obama's visit - and their misunderstanding of how he conducted his visit - was interesting for us as a family. Our two cultures, coming together publicly, if only for a weekend.


  1. Have they realized that Obama is also Kenyan and American?

    1. Yes. We talked about that. They love Obama now.


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