London's Evening Standard reports that when Obama visited a school in Kogelo. Kenya in 2006 he told principal Yuanita Obiero and her teachers
"I know you are working very hard and struggling to bring up this school, but I have said I will assist the school and I will do so."
Like his promises to build low income housing made during his failed 2000 congressional bid, the promise to help this school seem to have been forgotten once the photo opportunities were over. Only in this case Obama was not making promises to strangers who might vote for him. Ten of the school's 144 pupils were related to him.
Obiero was not the only one to think that the US Senator from Illinois, who had recently acquired a $1.65 million house in Chicago, would cough up. Obama's own grandmother Sarah confidently told reporters before his visit: "When he comes down here, he will change the face of the school and, believe me, our poverty in Kogelo will be a thing of the past.'
During the same trip. Obama also pledged to support a local orphanage.
The market is where we head next to speak to villagers about their hopes for an Obama victory in November and what it might do for their village. Mary Manasse, 40, who runs the Mama Siste Mini Shop selling staples such as bread and cow's milk (packaged in old Coke bottles) says she has a photograph of Obama shaking hands with her on his 2006 visit.
"Back then I was looking after 40 orphans at the orphan centre," she recalls. "We faced a desperate shortage of money and Obama told us that he especially liked special, dedicated projects like ours and wanted to help. We thought he would give funds to help our project but we got nothing. A few months later we were forced to shut down the orphan centre because of lack of funds. Just a million Kenyan shillings [£6,000*]* would have kept us going another year. I feel disappointed that he did not come through." .
A few stalls away mango-seller Gladys Anyango, 60, does an impromptu Obama impression to the amusement of her fellow peddlers. She places her hands on her hips, gazes into the middle distance and, mimicking his deep voice, says: "How are you, people of Kogelo?" Her friends collapse with laughter. She also takes off Obama's wife, Michelle, who had accompanied him on his visit along with his two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
"Oh, but there will be a big party here when Obama wins," she adds. "We still have hope that he will bring electricity and build schools so the children have a good education. Maybe when he's President of America, he'll remember his roots and look after his community in Kenya."
**$11,950 at today's exchange rate
My own opinion is that the residents of Kogelo would have done better had John and Cindy McCain visited them. After all, while Obama ask the adoring multitude What we will do with this moment......Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty? the McCains quietly adopted an ailing child from a Bangladesh orphanage operated by Mother Teresa's orphanage.