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Journalist Philip Ochieng’s American daughter shares her Kenyan experience

By HILARY KIMUYU February 26th, 2016 2 min read

Nothing could have better prepared Juliette Akinyi, the American-born daughter of Daily Nation columnist Philip Ochieng, for the grand reception that awaited her on her first reunion with her father after 54 years.

Apparently, the first-time visitor to Kenya suffered food poisoning, perhaps from over-indulgence in unfamiliar Kenyan cuisine that her family members were too eager to feed her on.

“Barfing. Diarrhea. Water. out, water in. Then barfed the water. Going to a doctor in Kisii. Any other suggestions welcome,” Akinyi wrote on Friday in her first Facebook update since arriving in Kenya this week.

The post attracted numerous get-well-soon messages from other Facebook users, but hours later Akinyi revealed the source of her ailment.

“Turns out it was food poisoning. Feel much better now. Will get to hotel. tonight (Kenya time) and download. all the picks,” she wrote.


Regardless, Akinyi seems to be enjoying her Kenyan experience, which she compares with that of US President Barack Obama.

Akinyi met her father and half siblings for the first time in her life after traveling from Los Angeles, California for the long-awaited family reunion.

“It’s a great feeling, but it’s hard to describe. The only person I know who could be able to describe and understand the feeling is probably Barack Obama,” a visibly thrilled Akinyi said in an interview on national television at her father’s home in Ong’ata Rongai.

The renowned columnist and his daughter were reportedly brought together by the internet, and in late January Akinyi announced through her blog, that she would be coming to Kenya to meet her father for the first time.

Akinyi’s historic visit indeed echoes President Obama’s search for his Kenyan roots. Akinyi and Obama’s parents also met when they were both attending the same American Colleges University of Hawaii for the Obamas and Roosevelt University in Chicago for the Ochiengs.

“Barack Senior and I were in the same plane that Tom Mboya organized for 81 students to go to America. One of those 81 produced Akinyi and the other produced Barack (President Obama),” Ochieng’ said during an interview with Citizen TV.

“It’s a kind of fulfillment, a homecoming, a getting together,” Ochieng’ said of the family reunion.