Obama Step-Grandma on Women's Rights

What Sarah Obama says might shock some. But they're not really listening to the Kenyan matriarch.

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To live to age 90 in a place like Kogelo, to survive an abusive marriage, is not only good fortune. It is also a triumph of tenacity and willpower. Mama Sarah -- complex, evolving -- is beginning to see and help foster some of the changes taking place in her country.

And yet the soundbite from this latest visit that interested the Americans in the group most was her emphatic statement that President Obama was not born in Kenya, more fodder for the 24-hour news cycle of Birther claims and counterclaims.  

I wish more people who visit Mama Sarah would say, "Tell us about your life," and then listen.

Louise Lief is the former deputy director of the International Reporting Project. She traveled to Kenya in 2009 and 2012.

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