Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Kenyan in the age of Obama.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from my Kenyan cousin which joked that Obama's family in Kenya was making plans to lengthen the runway in their village on Lake Victoria so that Air Force One could land safely.

The underlying culture in Kenya is that if you make it good the family (extended) can expect to be taken along. For example if you were to become the major of Nairobi tribe members (all) would expect to be offered jobs in Nairobi. I feel Obama's extended family on the shores of lake Victoria will be disappointed.

Having grown up as a white boy in rural Kenya at the tail-end of the colonial period Kenya is in my heart, soul and body. I speak Swahili, think like a Kenyan and always believed that Kenya's was first. In the early seventies 10 years after independence from British rule the white colonials felt an uneasy sense of the future. Many left for South Africa or Australia but many more stayed. My family stayed but for me things did not work out and at the age of 17 I left for Britain to become a young soldier. 32 years later I find myself an American citizen living in Charlotte North Carolina with a half Kenyan president elect. I like all Kenyan's, am emotional with pride.

Merry Christmas

Here’s wishing you and your family a merry Christmas and a safe and rewarding 2009.

I think we will all be glad to see the end of 2008. For us it was a particularly bad year, and if I had to choose a year to spend in bed, this would have been it. In April I was diagnosed (cause unknown) with Transverse Myelitis, a rare syndrome affecting the spinal cord. I spent 9 weeks in hospital. I was hit at the fourth vertebrae below the neck and was completely paralyzed. The prognosis was poor only a third recovering completely, another third getting no recovery. Here eight months later – I seem to be lucky and am making steady progress to what I hope will be a full recovery, but only time will tell. I am very thankful to my family and friends for all the wonderful support they have given me though out the year.
I did close my business in June, but hope I will be well enough to re-start it again in early 2009. Lets all hope the new year can restore our positive and confident spirits!

Regards Raymond May