(People Watch)
Filed on June 30, 2012

PRESIDENT OBAMA step-grandma, his paternal Kenyan grand-fatherís third wife, 90-year old Mama Sarah Obama, is a major celebrity in Kisumu, the town in western Kenya where she lives.

Ever since Obama became President and his lineage and nationality became a subject of public scrutiny, the town and its inhabitants have witnessed an endless stream of tourists coming in to have a look at the US President’s family. Mama Sarah, in fact, is so much in demand from them that she has taken to meeting people by appointment only, 10-5 from Monday to Friday and reduced hours on Saturdays.

Such is the power of the lady now that local authorities have named the road to her house after her , given the community its own police station and given her a public official to look after her needs. Round the clock security included.

Omama! ( is now looking forward to moving into a larger house that is being constructed and has a larger number of cows of her own . And, she uses her celeb status to raise funds for the Mama Sarah Children’s Foundation, which pays for the care and education of orphans who’ve lost their parents to AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. And for the rehabilitation of widows.

One spunky woman, if you ask us.

Creative genius

THIS IS the story of a little girl who decided to use her experiences with her mother’s illness to write a book that will help other care givers and nurturers a who-to-do-when kind of guide.

Layla Reid is all of seven but in her town and among her peers, she is now a celebrity of the kind who is known for her good work and talent.

The seven-year-old has been witness to her mother’s epileptic seizures from the time she can remember and while they used to upset her when she was a toddler, she eventually learnt to handle the unexpected incidents with calm and equanimity.

All along, she also jotted down her own experience with looking after her mother till finally, she found a reason why she had to write a book about it: While there were plenty of books that helped adults or children suffering from epilepsy, there were none that could help the families of the patients to cope with it.

Using a combination of illustrations and text that is easy to understand, the Soundwell resident wrote a book that explains what to do and what not to do when a child has to help someone suffering an epileptic seizure.

“You are not alone, there are other people like you,” the book’s message says.

“Layla was sat at the kitchen table and always seemed to be writing. She was always going around with a little notebook and pen. She showed me what she was doing and I thought it was brilliant, a really good idea.” The mother took the book to Pomegranate Books and the rest, as they say, is history.

The author, meanwhile, is already putting her book to good use by handing it over to her kid sister who is reading it to understand how to care for their mother…

A-list goat herds

LONDONERS WERE witness to an interesting event last week where a sprinkling of the city’s A-listers including former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie and Indian industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla’s mother Rajashree, led a herd of goats over the historic London Bridge.

No, goats are not the new dogs in London. Not as yet. The group of celebs who included former pop star Cilla Black, Baroness Angela Harris and designer Elizabeth Emanuel among others, were participating in a project to raise funds for distressed widows in India.

The brain child of NRI businessman Raj Loomba, the project uses the goat, a the symbol of livelihood generation to raise funds for the hundreds and thousands of widows in India who live life on the sidelines, ostracized by family and society. The milk alone can be a source of income in many different ways,” said Loomba who was himself raised by his widowed mother.

When he was made a Freeman of the city of London, Loomba decided to use the position to alleviate the sufferings of widowed women. As per the ancient rules, a Freeman has the right to walks goats across the London bridge. Some 20 goats were shipped from Derbyshire to participate in the unique event.

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