Saturday, September 06, 2008

Obama-Mania: African Style

Hey all,

I know it's been a while since many of you have heard from me, but I just wanted to share a little of my experience here with you. For those of you who don't know, I'm doing volunteer work in a rural village in Tanzania for two months, teaching HIV/AIDS education in local schools, and helping build an orphanage.

Anyway, whenever I meet new locals, and introduce myself as Marikani (American), they immediately ask me if I know about Obama, and whether or not I support him. Everyone from airline security, to local mamas, to my 7th grade class has asked me about him. They want to know his tribe, how he'll help his African brothers and sisters, even "why Americans would ever let a black man run the country." The same student who asked that question also asked us if he could change the UN so that countries like Tanzania have the same rights as permanent countries on the council.

It's all so fascinating and mind-boggling to really understand how much influence our country has upon the rest of the world. These people, living in mud huts in rural Tanzania, listen to their radios to American news and hope that with a new African-American President, their lives will change for the better.

"Obama means hope! Obama means change! That means for us too, right?"

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