JOHN HOCKENBERRY: This is The Takeaway. I'm John Hockenberry. And it's Election Day in the United States, but in Kogelo in Western Kenya it's not exactly Election Day, but it is pretty important. MAN: We're Africans, right? So we're going to at least have slaughtered a bull, you know, and just hang out. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: Slaughtering a bull for ? for Barack Obama. Of course, it is his ancestral home on his father's side. Karen Allen is a BBC correspondent joining me from Kogelo in Western Kenya. Karen, thanks for being with us. KAREN ALLEN: Hi, good afternoon. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: So I gather the BBC has mobilized some resources to cover the reaction in Western Kenya to the election, or defeat, of Barack Obama, either way. Correct? KAREN ALLEN: Yes. There's a huge team here. There's at least a dozen of us covering television, radio and also the Internet. Incredible, when you think about it, because we're 8,000 miles away from the White House here in Western Kenya. And, of course, many are hoping that Barack Obama will be much closer to the White House in the coming hours. But it is seen as a huge event here. Kenyans very much have adopted this election as one of their own. They had their own troubles at the polls earlier this year, but there really is now a sense of festivity, a huge sense of expectation. Where I'm standing we've moved away from Kogelo which is the village that is Barack Obama's ascent ? ancestral home. We're in the main town, just a few miles up the road in Kisumu. And if I can tell you, I'm standing in the marketplace where there are people selling Obama t-shirts, Obama key rings, watches, badges, and also clocks. One of the clocks I'm seeing just in front of me shows Barack Obama hand in hand, standing next to the Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is also a hero from this area. So there is a huge sense that this is an election ? it may be going on in the United States but Kenyans feel that they have a huge buy into this. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: You know, I know that you're possibly too young to know anything or remember anything about this, but in 1960 the Kennedy election produced an ichnography of JFK that was still visible in, you know, mantles and living rooms in places like Ireland and Africa generations after JFK was assassinated. Do you suspect that that's what's going on here, even though Kogelo is a ? has a specific ancestral connection to Barack Obama? KAREN ALLEN: I think that's right. I think there is some ichnography that goes with this. It's not simply in Western Kenya that you see people infatuated with Barack Obama, the man. You go anywhere in Kenya and it's a name that has resonance from people from the age of 5 when you go to the classrooms and the schools, right up to older people. I mean, there are things that are extraordinary that you see here. In Barack Obama's grandmother's home she has this huge life-sized cardboard cutout of Barack Obama. Now, regardless of the outcome of the election, that is something that is going to be there to stay. It may even be put somewhere prominent in the village, regardless of the outcome. So I think there is a real sense that this is a defining moment in history. It's a defining moment that Kenyans see as being part of their history, as well. And whichever way it goes, they will feel that they've had a part of it. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: Talk policy for two seconds. Is there anything Kenyans expect from the United States government if Barack Obama is elected? KAREN ALLEN: They expect an awful lot. I mean, in practical terms I think you talk to any Kenyans and there is a real hope that, for example being able to get something simple like a visa to go and visit the United States might be easier ? JOHN HOCKENBERRY: So ? KAREN ALLEN: Likewise, you talk to people ? JOHN HOCKENBERRY: ? they're slaughter ? they're slaughtering a bull for visas. That's ? that's great. KAREN ALLEN: They're slaughtering a bull for visas. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: It sounds like a great party there. Have fun tonight watching the returns. Karen Allen, BBC correspondent in Kogelo, Western Kenya, the ancestral home of the father of Barack Obama.

Related Stories