During Obama's visit to the school, he opened their half-finished science laboratory (built with£4,900 raised by the community) and wrote in the visitor's book: "Congratulations on the newlaboratory!" Today, the lab has been mothballed because they ran out of funds to equip it andbecause, critically, there is no running water. "We must pay the man with the donkey to fetch uswater from the river four kilometres away," says Obiero. The situation in the school mirrors thatof Kogelo village where the people live without water, electricity or access to proper healthcareand on average incomes of less than $1 a day. Yet they remain diehard fans of the man who hasput their rural community on the map and have even renamed the beer, called Senator, in hishonour: locals now order "an Obama".Obama's "lapse" is all the more difficult to understand given that he wrote in his 1995autobiography, Dreams from My Father, that Kogelo occupies a special place in his heart asbeing where he reconciled the diverse parts of himself - American and African, white mother andblack father. Obama wrote how he fell to his knees, sobbing, between the graves of his father andgrandfather at the family compound."When my tears were finally spent," he wrote, "I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circlefinally close. I realised that who I was, what I cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellector obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America - the black life, thewhite life, the sense of abandonment I'd felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I'd witnessed inChicago - all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away."Obama had visited Kogelo for the first time in the 1980s after attending Columbia University andthen again in 1991 to research his memoirs after graduating from Harvard Law School. He wouldlater become a civil rights lawyer and community organiser before going into politics and servingin the Illinois Senate in 1997 and then the US Senate in 2004.On those two voyages of personal discovery to Kogelo, he learned that his grandfather, HusseinOnyango Obama, who lived to 105 according to his gravestone (1870-1975), had been arespected elder and witchdoctor. But it was the road travelled by his estranged father, Barack Hussein Obama, that inspired and intrigued him. His father had transcended his roots as a goatherder to get a PhD at Harvard and work for the Kenyan government before falling from graceand dying in a car accident in 1982 at just 46.Barack's father, an economist, had split up with his white mother, Ann Dunham, from Kansas,when Barack was two. Apart from a month-long visit from his father when he was 10 years old,Obama would know him only through letters. As an adult he learned there was a darker side tohis father, reflecting in his book that he had apparently also been "a bitter drunk", "an abusivehusband", and "a defeated, lonely bureaucrat". But during this process of soul-searching he cameto know and adore the elderly woman who had raised his father, his step-grandmother SarahObama.We had been told that Sarah's house, which is adjacent to the school, was patrolled by two armedsecurity guards - who pays their wages is not clear - but when we visited the home, Sarah wasaway in Nairobi and we were shown in by one of Obama's young cousins.