Obama visits temples during Indonesia holiday with wife, children ... and 650 soldiers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 1:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:44pm

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, met 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.