I was in Nairobi, Mombasa and Lamu just four short months ago and I fell in love. I fell in love with Kenya for her people; for the hospitality, wisdom, kindness, brilliance and courage I found. But I suppose I never got to know Kenya well enough to have imagined I was in a tinderbox, that this would happen.
Now Kenya is burning, and I still haven't been able to get in touch with any of my friends except for my friends who are bloggers, and from them I get images of troops marching through Nairobi's empty streets (streets I remember quite differently), sad stories, stories of human life wasted. I've started praying and I'm not the praying kind.
Which brings me to Barack Obama. He isn't exactly an African topic, but his win at the Iowa Caucus and his speech tonight have given me reason to believe in my own country again.
To be sure, the kind of unity he's calling for--one that transcends red states and blue states--is a lot easier to come by than the love Kenya will need to heal itself from this. But Barack Obama is a son of a Kenyan, and after tonight it looks like he might just become America's first Black president, all because he promises the only thing that can bring a lost and divided people back from the brink: hope.
They said this day would never come. They said our sights were set too high. They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose. But on this January 9th, at this defining moment of history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do.
If you really believe the President of the United States is the leader of the free world, then this son of a Kenyan just may change the world.