I met Obama the day I offered a ball to the children of the organization participating in the art classes at Feima. He came from nowhere and took the ball from twenty or so very excited children playing with it. No one was able to take it away from him. Having in mind that Obama is only two years old, that was a real feat of him.
At the time I didn’t know his name. A toddler was alone in the park and he had taken charge of the ball, that’s all I knew. I was already thinking he had been abandoned, when a gigantic Mozambican woman appeared and lifted the small boy by one of his arms. The toddler’s free arm was still holding the ball. By then he was screaming and crying with all the bits of his small lungs. That’s when I heard her calling him Obama for the first time.<
‘Can I take a picture of Obama?’ I asked to the gigantic mother.
‘For sure!’ she said. She seemed kind of relieved to put him back on the grass where twenty or so anxious faces were following his progresses with the much-desired ball.
Because Obama moved fast and continuously, holding the ball and dribbling whoever tried to get it back, I couldn’t take a single decent picture. I stood there frustrated. The tearful boy with the ball in his arms was a very desirable shot, especially when the Euro 2012 was still on.
‘No picture today. Maybe some other day.’ I informed Obama’s mother. ‘I suppose you like the American President?’
She looked somehow puzzled.
‘President Obama, I mean. You must admire him, since you gave his name to your child,’ I explained.
‘Oh, no. It wasn’t like that. I didn’t pick his name. They did,’ she corrected.
‘At the birth registration office. They asked me if I had a name for my son. When I said no they read a list of names for me to pick one and the first they suggested was Obama. They said it was a good name, number one option for boys these days, and I said yes. That’s how it all happened.’