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John Lamb, Published January 20 2009

Local Africans say they have high hopes in Obama presidency

Fargo Africans united behind new president

FARGO - As the United States' first African-American president was sworn into office in Washington, D.C., local Africans gathered at a Fargo market to watch history.

“Change is coming soon,” said Abdi Abdi, a Somalian visiting SBC Halal Meat & Groceries shortly before Barack Obama’s inauguration. “We have to change bullets into peace, into education.

“We can show America is great opportunity country, the kindest country,” said Abdi, who previously voted for the former president, George W. Bush.

“He speaks like Martin Luther (King Jr.),” said Paul Agamiri of Obama’s speech. The Sudanese man was one of a handful who gathered to watch the event on a wide-screen TV.

Among them was Mohamed, who came to the United States five years ago from Kenya, where Obama’s father is from.

When the 2008 presidential race was first being discussed years ago, he didn’t think anyone could beat John McCain, especially not someone of Kenyan descent.

“Everything is possible, the sky is the limit,” he said, while watching Obama walk Bush to the helicopter that would take the former president from Washington, D.C. “Everybody has hope in Obama. We’ll see what he does in the next four years.”

Read more in Wednesday’s Forum.