August 23, 2008

How to tell the genuine from the phony...

...It's a matter of what you DO, not what you say...

I have a few times quoted things by blogger Juliette Ochieng (Baldilocks) but hadn't followed her recently—too many bloggers in the world, too little time. But I was fascinated by this article (Thanks to Rand) about how her life story is amazingly intertwined with Obama's, and how she is trying to make right a failed promise of Mr Obama. (You might want to make a donation.) I recommend the article.

She says that her efforts are not a political stunt, and I believe it. This is the kind of thing that real people, especially Christians, do all the time. I was just thinking about a friend of ours, a surgical nurse, who goes once a year with a surgical team to a hospital in Guatemala. The hospital was founded by an American doctor who visited the town, and decided to help it... (She says they just love the work. Two weeks of pure medicine, with no insurance companies, no parasite-lawyers, no bureaucracy.)

...In August 2006, Senator Obama toured Kenya, his first trip to his father's nation. Thousands of Kenyans welcomed him, international media followed wherever he went, and glowing stories flowed forth.

One spot he visited was the recently renamed Senator Obama Kogelo Secondary School in Nyang'oma-Kogelo, a village in equatorial western Kenya where Obama's roots go deep: His father, Barack Sr., was born there. His 86-year-old step-grandmother, Sarah, still lives there in a brick shanty with a tin roof and no running water.

Almost exactly two years ago, Barack Obama visited the school built upon land that, decades ago, Obama's grandfather donated. In anticipation of Obama's visit, the school changed its name to honor the village's most famous progeny, Barack Jr.

The school had only four classrooms. It lacked water, functioning bathrooms and even electricity. A third of its students were orphans. Its extreme need made Senator Obama's speech there all the more riveting for the village residents.

"Hopefully, I can provide some assistance in the future to this school and all that it can be," Obama said. Looking directly at the school's principal, Yuanita Obiero, and her teachers, he added, "I know you are working very hard and struggling to bring up this school, but I have said I will assist the school, and I will do so."

In the two years since, Obama has experienced a meteoric political rise, becoming the Democratic flag-bearer, authoring a best-seller and last year, with his wife, Michelle, earning $4.2 million. He bought a luxury home. Last year, he gave $240,000 to charities.

But apparently not to the Senator Obama Kogelo School. "Senator Obama has not honored the promises he gave me when we met in 2006 and in his earlier letter to the school," Principal Obiero has told the London-based, conservative tabloid EveningStandard. "He has not given us even one shilling. But we still have hope."

As the Standard reports it, Principal Obiero explained, "We interpreted his words as meaning he would help fund the school, either personally or by raising sponsors or both, in order to give our school desperately needed modern facilities and a face-lift."

Enter Baldilocks, who lives in a rough area of Los Angeles, is the caregiver for an elderly relative and worries, like most people, about her bills. She hasn't got millions and didn't attend an Ivy League school.

But she was embarrassed by her fellow Luo-American, Barack Obama. She rushed to fill the financial void, forming a California nonprofit to funnel money to the African school. With a flair for drama, she named it "Save Senator Obama Kogelo School" and held a mini fund-raiser. She's raised $3,500, so she's a long way from the $750,000 she wants to raise within two years...
Posted by John Weidner at August 23, 2008 8:02 AM
Weblog by John Weidner