Project Blog

Saint Louis for Obama!

Aug 21, 2008

You’d think that, having had several days to play catch up, I’d have managed to line up the next event Rob would be photographing. But, as has become our custom, I was on the phone en route to Saint Louis still trying to confirm our plan there, while Rob drove. When we arrived at the union hall on the edge of town, where the North County Obama Headquarters is located, Rob stayed with the car and his equipment in the desolate parking lot by the highway (the equipment insurance policy taking effect any day now, after having been submitted later than we had originally planned… oops!) and I went inside to scout the space and introduce myself.

There were a few people sitting around at laptops making phone calls in the enormous hall, which I was relieved to see had ceilings high enough for our lights. As we hung the backdrop and unpacked lights we met Jaelithe, who told me about the “Momocrats” blog for which she writes, and Isaac, her adorable redheaded 4 year old, who routinely sits patiently at the office and colors for hours while his parents volunteer. By the time we were set up, half a dozen other people had arrived for the volunteer meeting, and while it was in progress we tried to keep Isaac’s squeals of delight to a minimum as Rob took his picture.

Following the meeting I went around to find out who would let us take their portrait. The mostly middle age, female crowd in attendance balked, chiding Harold for not warning them that they should have dressed up. Harold, who clearly works hard to assert himself among this boisterous bunch, insisted that he had no idea we would be there until a few hours before the meeting. I was able to coax a few of the ladies to participate, who in turn badgered their friends into joining them. And in the end, after every one of them had been photographed, we all joked that if this group is half as effective at convincing people to register to vote for Obama, as they are pressuring their peers, that Saint Louis should be a lock!

That night we stayed with “my brother,” who was adopted in Kenya by my father’s best friend, and when I was in high school, came to live with us to go to college. Though we keep up with each other via the routine holiday phone call, I haven’t him seen in years. The chance to visit with old friends and family is a fantastic bonus to this trip! And although the visits are sometimes shorter than we’d like, and we often arrive late and exhausted, we’ve been very well taken care of on the road! As a huge Obama fan, “my brother” was so excited to hear all about our project. The success of the half-Kenyan candidate has been bitter sweet for him though. Because of his H1B Visa status, not only won’t he be voting in this election, but he can’t volunteer or do anything even remotely political, and therefore has asked that he be kept anonymous here. He’s been waiting for citizenship for over 10 years, even though he was adopted by Americans and has been living, studying and working in the US since he was 18. Just one more bit of bureaucracy we hope might change with an Obama Administration

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