Obama speaks of his experience visiting Kenya as Illinois Senator in 2006

Former US President Barrack Obama with his grandmother Mama Sarah Obama. [Photo: The Irish Times]

In his newly released memoir, former US President Barrack Obama has spoken of his experience while visiting Kenya more than a decade ago when he was the then Illinois Senator.

Obama prior to his two-term presidency visited the country in 2006 and he was startled at the reception he got back then.

He writes that he was surprised to have received such recognition that people lined up along major highways to wave at him while on his way to Kogalo Village where his father was born.

“We were surprised to see people lined up and waving alongside miles of highway,” he writes as quoted by the Star.

Kenyans who lined up along major highways to welcome him said this was what befits a “son of the soil”.

A first-term Democrat Senator, Obama opted to visit Kenya as part of an awareness campaign against HIV/AIDS. He would later visit three other African countries for a similar campaign in what pundits say was part of a strategy to prepare the ground for his 2008 election as US President.

Obama writes that at this time he was accompanied by his wife Michelle and his two daughters Sasha and Malia. He was thrilled that they would finally step into his father’s ancestral home.

However, the reception he was given troubled the security detail that was offering him and his family.

“Only when we went on safari, parked among the lions and wildebeests, did we escape the commotion,” Obama adds in reference to his trip to the prestigious Base Camp Masai Mara in Mara National Reserve.

He recalls an incident where he got a few steps away from his security detail together with Michelle to take a public HIV test and it almost turned tragic as the crowd edged forward towards him.

“And when Michelle and I stopped at a mobile health clinic to publicly take a HIV test as a means of demonstrating its safety, a crowd of thousands showed up, swamping our vehicle and giving the diplomatic security team a real scare,” Obama notes.

Obama later visited Kenya as the US President in 2015 and hang around his half-sister Dr Auma Obama.