At that historic homecoming in August 2006 Obama was greeted as a hero with thousands lining the dirt streets of Kogelo. He visited the Senator Obama Kogelo Secondary School built on land donated by his paternal grandfather. After addressing the pupils, a third of whom are orphans, and dancing with them as they sang songs in his honour, he was shown a school with four dilapidated classrooms that lacked even basic resources such as water, sanitation and electricity. He told the assembled press, local politicians (who included current Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga), and students: "Hopefully I can provide some assistance in the future to this school and all that it can be." He then turned to the school's principal, Yuanita Obiero, and assured her and her teachers: "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." Obiero says that although Obama did not explicitly use the word "financial" to qualify the nature of the assistance he was offering, "there was no doubt among us [teachers] that is what he meant. 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 facelift". She added that 10 of the school's 144 pupils are Obama's relatives. Obiero was not the only one to think that the US Senator from Illinois, who had recently acquired a $1.65 million house in Chicago, would cough up. Obama's own grandmother Sarah confidently told reporters before his visit: "When he comes down here, he will change the face of the school and, believe me, our poverty in Kogelo will be a thing of the past." But the Evening Standard has heard that the promises he made to help the school as well as a local orphanage appear to have been emptyâ€¦ Granting us access to the school and its records, Principal Obiero, 48, tells us: "Senator Obama has not honoured the promises he gave me when we met in 2006 and in his earlier letter to the school. He has not given us even one shilling. But we still have hope."Aaah, the audacity of hope. Methinks Senator Obama is a bit busy healing the planet to worry about ancient promises. Besides, perhaps Principal Obiero is being a touch hard on the Senator. While it is true that Obama purchased a $1.65 million house, he needed the generous financial assistance of Tony Rezko to do so. By the way, a non-profit organization has sprung up headed by Air Force veteran Juliette Ochieng to do what Barack Obama promised to do but has since apparently lost interest in - providing the funds necessary to improve the Senator Obama Kogelo School. Their website is here. Let this post serve as an alert to wealthy McCain supporters/bundlers looking for a good cause with a political tint. Somebody has to save the Obama School, and it won't be Obama.
Required Reading: Obama to School Named After Him - Drop Dead
In the Obama family's hometown in Kenya, the secondary school is named after the presumptive Democratic nominee. Obama visited there in 2006: