Obama in Indonesia: wife, kids and 650 soldiers


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Obama in Indonesia: wife, kids and 650 soldiers” was written by Oliver Holmes, for theguardian.com on Thursday 29th June 2017 04.47 UTC

Barack Obama has ended a five-day family holiday to Indonesia by visiting Yogyakarta, an ancient and artsy city around which his anthropologist mother spent years doing research into village life.

The former US president – who lived in Indonesia during his childhood – his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha, had spent three days in the resort island of Bali, where they were photographed river rafting.

The former first family arrived by private jet on Wednesday to a military airport in Yogyakarta, where authorities said about 650 Indonesian security forces were deployed to protect them.

First on their itinerary for the two-day visit was Borobudur, a ninth-century Buddhist temple complex.

They are also expected to visit the Hindu temple of Prambanan.

Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, meet the future president’s father at the University of Hawaii but later remarried an Indonesian man and the family moved to Jakarta in 1967 when Obama was six.

When that marriage also broke up, Dunham moved to Yogyakarta to study indigenous craft industries and Obama returned to Hawaii aged 10 to live with his grandparents.

Acquiring grants from international foundations, Dunham worked in development, helping villagers to get loans to launch small businesses.

The region was the subject of her PhD thesis, Peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia: surviving and thriving against all odds, which details life in a village an hour’s drive along a dirt road south of Yogyakarta. Dunham described local customs, eating habits and how women ran agriculture.

Indonesia’s president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, suggested the trip to Obama, who is also scheduled to speak at an Indonesian diaspora congress in Jakarta on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).