President Obama arrived in Kenya on Friday for his first visit to his father’s homeland as commander in chief.
The president’s trip is meant to deepen U.S. trade and security ties in East Africa, but Obama’s family connection to Kenya is what has built anticipation for his visit.
Obama climbed down the stairs of Air Force One just after 8 p.m., Nairobi time. He was greeted on the tarmac by a group of about 20 people, including his half-sister, Auma Obama, with whom he shared a hug.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also greeted Obama before he departed for his hotel.
Kenyans are treating Obama’s trip as a homecoming, and excitement has reached a fever pitch. Street vendors are selling T-shirts with Obama’s photo and the phrase “welcome home.”
But none of the huge crowds typically seen on presidential visits appeared along the motorcade route to the hotel. Several dozen people cheered as the president passed by a gas station close to his hotel.
A few billboards welcoming Obama were seen along the way, including one that said “Karibu Kenya.” Another featured pictures of Obama and Kenyatta standing alongside one another.
While in Kenya, Obama will headline a summit on boosting entrepreneurship and deliver a speech. He will travel to Ethiopia on Sunday to speak to the African Union.