Dreams From My Father, A Story Of Race And Inheritance. Barack Obama. Book Review. Part Three, Kenya, Chapter Seventeen: Safari To The Great Rift Valley With A Reluctant Auma.
Barack decides to go on a safari to The Great Rift Valley and convinces a reluctant Auma to go with him. They join a small tour group led by a guide and two Masai warriors for security. The Masai still clung to their old ways as herdsmen and warriors. The young males had to kill a lion to gain their manhood and cattle raids still occurred.
The Valley is remote, beautiful and teeming with wildlife like a Henri Rousseau painting. Barack and the others sleep in tents and get to know one another.
One of the other men, who was English, tells him that he was born in the central highlands of Kenya but his family had to give up their farm, after independence, and return to England when he was nine. He studied medicine and has returned to Africa but not Kenya to practice where there was a surplus of doctors. Instead he and his wife settled in Malawi and practiced under a government contract where there was a dire need for doctors as there were only eight doctors for half a million people and a constant shortage of supplies. People were dying of preventable or curable diseases and now the region was beset with Aids. In some villages fifty percent of the people had the disease. The doctor was grim in his assessment of conditions.
Noting his pessimism Barack asked why he had come back. The man answered, I view Africa as my home with its open spaces and ecological beauty, London was too crowded and confining for him. This said, he knew he would eventually be replaced by a native doctor and have to go back to England where he felt out of place.
On their return they find that Roy has come back from the United States. He is the eldest son and the women treat him with respect catering to his every whim. Auma is upset at this treatment and sees no reason for it other than the fact he is the first born male.
Barack learns the facts of David’s death. Roy and David had gone to a club where Roy met a woman he took a fancy to and a man objected saying he was the woman’s husband. A fight broke out and Roy was arrested for lack of identification papers. David came to the jail and asked for the motorcycle keys. He had been drinking and Roy didn’t want him to drive. David convinced him he should go back to the house and get Roy’s papers so he wouldn’t have to spend the night in jail. Roy gave in and on his way David got in an accident and was killed.
Seeing Roy’s remorse, Barack says it was an accident Roy and not your fault. You should let it go. It seems that Africa was a place of great hope and beauty but of many heart breaking stories.