December 19, 2009

Barack Obama Meets His Half-Brother, Mark Ndesandjo, in China

I was glad to see that President Barack Obama took some time while he was in China last week to meet with his half-brother, Mark Ndesandjo. [SOURCE]

Before President Obama headed to a formal dinner with China's President Hu Jintao, he set aside time to see his half brother and Ndesandjo's wife, who had flown up from the southern boomtown of Shenzhen where they live. The two last met in January when Ndesandjo attended Obama's inauguration as a family guest.

"My big brother, you know I think he was on his way to see the president of China. ... He came directly off the plane, changed some clothes and then came down and saw us. And he just gave me a big hug. And it was so intense. I'm still over the moon on it. I am over the moon. And my wife. She is his biggest fan, and I think she is still recovering," he said with a laugh.
The two last met in January when Ndesandjo attended Obama's inauguration in Washington, D.C., as a family guest.

The two brothers and Ndesandjo's wife, a native of Henan, China, had a long chat.

"All I can say is, we talked about family, and it was very powerful because when he came in through that door, and I saw him and I hugged him, and he hugged me and hugged my wife. It was like we were continuing a conversation that had started many years ago," Ndesandjo said.
The two men did not grow up together. Ndesandjo's mother, Ruth Nidesand, was Barack Obama Sr.'s third wife. President Obama's father had been a Kenyan exchange student who met his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a Kansas native, when they were in school in Hawaii. The two separated two years after he was born.

The senior Obama later met Ndesandjo's mother as a graduate student at Harvard University, and the two returned to live in Kenya, where Mark and his brother, David, were born and grew up. David later died in a motorcycle accident.

Obama's mother went on to marry an Indonesian man and he spent part of his young life in Jakarta. His sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is half-Indonesian and her husband is Chinese-Canadian.

Since 2001, Ndesandjo has been living in the booming southern Chinese city of Shenzhen near Hong Kong and earns a living as a marketing consultant. For most of that time, he has maintained a low profile, with few people knowing his connection to the U.S. president.

But two weeks ago, he went public to launch a new novel, a semi-autobiographical book called "Nairobi to Shenzhen" that features a protagonist who is the son of a Jewish mother and an abusive father from Kenya.

President Obama indicated in a recent CNN interview that he hadn't read the book yet. Villagers may recall that the president also wrote about his father, who abandoned him as a child, in his best-selling memoir.

Ndesandjo's book seeks to raise awareness about domestic violence. His father beat him and his mother when they were living in Kenya, Ndesandjo said. Obama Sr. died in an automobile accident in 1982 at age 46.

"For a long time, I had serious, serious reservations about using that name (Obama) because of the hurt I experienced," he said. Though he wanted to maintain his privacy, he decided to write the novel because "there are certain things you can do and you really should do because you know it will help people."
Villagers, we are blessed to have a president with such a 'rainbow coalition' family tree. I think that it is cool that President Obama took time to visit his brother. What say u?

1 comment:

yonela said...

We know Mark Obama to be equally intelligent, maybe even more as he did physics at Starnford, so he is no little brain brother. Its quet a challenge to be a high profile politician because the media may eat at whatever part of you that may not be politically correct, and they start with family. You may then end up having to alienate your own family in trying to please media political wagon. Barrack Obama's family is far from being perfect and his deeper understanding of human behaviour and the external pressures on that behaviour have made him embrace all of him, especially the reality of his family. Keep your family close i say, and dare lead the world even in that regard as you lead it on every other part...