Ghanaians look forward to Obama visit

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President Obama is visiting the West African country of Ghana this weekend, much to the delight of Ghanaians. The World's Laura Lynch reports from the capital, Accra.

LISA MULLINS: Ghanaians already know what they think about President Obama, they are delighted that he's gonna stop by the West African country this weekend. The World's Laura Lynch reports from the Ghana's capital, Accra.

LAURA LYNCH: The partying has already started, even if Barack Obama isn't around to join in the dancing. There's American barbecue, American flags, and just beside the dance floor, a place where you can watch the president's inaugural speech all over again, if you get bored with the party. This is the Hotel Obama, not five star, not a splashy set up, but owner Kwame Osuru hopes now that he's built it, they, they being the Obamas, will come.


LAURA LYNCH: The most expensive room has a small lounge, a big, big bed and a lovely Obama family portrait on the wall. The other rooms have names too, Michelle Obama's is down the hall, Joe Biden's is just opposite. Then there's the Harvard room, the Hawaii room and the White House room. Now you might think this is just a bit of marketing, but Osuru lived in New Jersey for more than two decades, married there, and raised a family. So the hotel and Mr. Obama's impending visit, mean a lot to him.

KWAME OSURU: And for me, with all due respect, as a colored person, it gives hope. To show an appreciation for the people of the United States, for looking beyond the barriers of colors, and look for what is good for them. It gives me also hope that my daughter and my son who are Americans, it tells them to work hard, there is opportunity for them.

LAURA LYNCH: There's a tendency for people here to attach whatever significance they like to the presidential visit, even though it will last less than 24 hours. Benis De Koomah (PH) runs the center dedicated to the memory of American civil rights pioneer, W.E.B. Dubois. Dubois moved to Ghana in 1961, and is buried on the grounds of the center. De Koomah is hoping President Obama will lay a wreath at the gravesite.

BENIS DE KOOMAH: It represent the desire of Dubois for black people to come home, to come to the African continent, so Dubois himself make the first move by dying in a continent of Africa. And if a black President also have this high office and coming to Ghana, and following up the footsteps of the forefathers, or the leaders of black people, it's a very interesting and happy for Ghana.


LAURA LYNCH: Mr. Obama has framed this trip as one meant to highlight Ghana's stable democracy, choosing it over his troubled ancestral homeland of Kenya, to make his point. Ghanaians know that and are proud. They're also very, very excited.


LAURA LYNCH: Chris Adu is smiling as he unpacks more Obama T-shirts.

CHRIS ADU: Obama make me happy. I'm happy. And now I'm expecting Obama, I'm happy, I'm making it big.

LAURA LYNCH: Adu is making it big. He says he's selling about 200 dollars worth of shirts a day right now. Coretta Osuru, hotel owner Kwame Osuru's American born and raised daughter spoke with pride of her Ghanaian heritage. Still, being named after Martin Luther King's widow Corretta, she's also proud of Mr. Obama. This weekend, her two worlds will come together.

CORETTA OSURU: I feel that his visit here will help to make other international people and from different countries know more about West Africa, and understand that that Ghana is a very good country. Its not war, it's not a zoo. People have a lot of misperceptions about the place, and I think that once Obama comes, it'll reveal that Ghana's a very good and progressing country.

LAURA LYNCH: The President probably will discuss economic issues with Ghanaian leaders, and there are other serious matters that may be on the agenda such as Ghana's growing battle against the flow of illegal drugs from Latin America, newfound oil resources off its coast, and it's potential as a partner in American's effort to establish a military presence in Africa. Those matters aren't top of mind for many Ghanaians, though. They're too busy celebrating. For The World, I'm Laura Lynch in Accra.