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Mama Sarah reveals her special gift to Obama during visit

US President Barack Obama’s step grandmother Mama Sarah on Monday said she presented him a traditional Luo stool that he said he will take to the White House.

Mama Sarah said that President Obama, who was “Luo at heart and soul”, fed on Luo traditional foods when he hosted the family for dinner at the five-star Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel, Nairobi.

An excited Mama Sarah said that her grandson was eager to receive the stool. The three-legged stool, she said, was a sign of leadership and control.

“President Obama sat on the stool in front of me and I was very happy. He is Luo and he knows what we love and he did just that,” an excited Mama Sarah told journalists at Kisumu International Airport on Monday after landing from Nairobi.

Notably, when she went to the US for the inauguration of her grandson as President in January 2009, Mama Sarah had carried a similar stool for him.


The 94-year-old looked bubbly and laughed excitedly as she relived what was the biggest family meeting that President Obama later described as ‘wonderful’.

“I slept right in the same hotel with him. It was a very happy moment when Auma (President Obama’s half-sister) brought him in to the room,” said Mama Sarah.

She revealed that President Obama, though having lived in the West all his life, still knew his roots by what he ate that Friday night.

“What did President Obama eat? He is Luo and he ate our foods. He took Omena, chicken, and our vegetables. He was happy to be here,” said Mama Sarah.

Addressing the press at State House on Saturday, President Obama said that the family meeting was fulfilling.

“There are cousins, uncles and aunties that show up that you did not know existed, but you are always happy to meet. There were some lengthy explanations in some connections. But it was a wonderful time,” President Obama told journalists.