U.S. President Barack Obama’s step-grandmother, Sarah Onyango Obama, received emergency eye surgery from Israeli doctors in an Israeli-run hospital in Equatorial Guinea last week, the Times of Israel reports.
Sarah Onyango Obama is the third wife of Hussein Onyango Obama, President Obama’s grandfather. She is apparently the source for much of what President Obama knows about his family in Kenya, and is one of the most important sources of family lore cited by Obama in his first memoir, Dreams from my Father.
Mrs. Obama was transported from her rural village of Nyang’oma Kogelo in western Kenya to the hospital in Equatorial Guinea, which features over one hundred Israeli personnel. The hospital facility was not founded by the Israeli government but by Israeli entrepreneurs Yardena Ovadya and Ariyeh Horesh.
It is not uncommon for Israeli entrepreneurs to create social services–such as hospitals and agricultural training programs–in African countries, often in return for access to mineral resources and investment opportunities.
Though the treatment was performed by Israeli doctors, Sarah Obama describes her medical visit to Equatorial Guinea as proof “of the fact that you don’t need to fly to Europe to get medical treatment,” the Times reports.