I remember the very first time I heard the name Obama it was exactly 10 years ago while I was a grade 12 student. My classmate Lydia Ayele told me about an African American senator named Obama running for president. After knowing his name for the first time I didn’t really pay attention to his campaign until he becomes the democrat nominee. After that I become obsessed with his persona I started buying Time and Newsweek magazines around Beherawi Theater and pause my ear whenever I got the chance to see him on TV.
What follows was his election day night Nov 4, 2008, and during that time I was a 2nd-year student at Mekelle University and during that specific night, I was at Kanan dormitory TV room. The election was not much of an issue for many of the campus students who were already crazy about Manchester United game that night. Because of that, I had to wait till the game is over and ask the student council to change the TV channel to CNN.
I really didn’t have a clue about the electoral system during that night, fortunately, there was these guy who were my senior and the moment I realized that he knows how America election works, I start shelling him with questions. The hour starts to paint blue in the TV screen as more states results appear and booommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm you would say Obama won but waittttttttttttttt the light goes offffffffffff and it was around 6:00 am. I didn’t have any clue where to go to see the result then I wake Nati who was my dormmate and asked him to go with me to Atse Yohannes Hotel probably one of the few places that have got a generator. Then we went to the hotel and by the time we arrived there Obama has already won the election and he was minutes away from giving his victory speech. In order to watch his victory speech, we were supposed to order breakfast at a hotel where students don’t normally go unless a tourist wants them to translate. Then we ordered a 37 birr breakfast which was so expensive during that time and watched one of the greatest speech every made by the President.
Ever since that day, my campus nickname becomes Obama and my dorm start to be called White House since who would be paying 37 birr for breakfast just to watch Obama. My obsession has not stopped even after the election and on his 100 days in office I wrote a review article of his presidency and sent it to Fortune Addis. The article got rejected mainly for grammar and irrelevance. But that has not stopped me from looking ways to dream the impossible “How can I meet President Obama?”. Well, there was a clear and simple path to that which was through Young African Leadership Initiative or YALI. I applied three times in a row and kept being rejected I didn’t even get selected for interview and that pissed me off and wrote an angry email to the state department. Which makes me feel like crazy when I think about it today.
In 2015 I gave up in all my options and suddenly the White House announced President Obama trip to his homeland Kenya. I wasn’t very sure but I wanted to know what he will be doing in Kenya and while browsing about his trip I learned that he was coming for Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Then I immediately checked GES website since I consider myself as an entrepreneur I applied for the conference and Guess Whattttttttttttttttttt I got accepted. The dream of meeting President Obama become a reality on July 25, 2015 in Kenya.
He may not be my president but I thank him for inspiring me as an achiever against all odds. Now I don’t have to send this article to Fortune Addis and wait for their approval while I can publish it on my own media startup.