Why I gave President Obama a Kite.

Back in October when I was chosen as a fellow for the Young Leaders of the America's Initiative, I didn’t really have the words to describe what I was feeling. I still don't. I did know however, that one doesn't get chosen for an initiative started by President Obama and not try to give him a gift.

For weeks my mother and I sat at the dining room table trying to figure out what exactly would have been suitable enough to give not only a President but also a historic one. Something meaningful of course, but it also had to be fun. It had to be something that shed a little bit more insight about the country where I was from and all the things that I love about it that aren't that obvious. A kite is what we came up with.

I got laughed at. You get one shot to make a really good impression and you want to give him a kite? Dragging the huge box through the international airport in Lima on my way to President Obama’s final town hall, the stares were intense and the chuckles were profuse.

I shared my gift idea but not the letter that was attached. Looking at his final days in office I would now like to share that letter. I would like to share with you all the reason I gave president Obama a Bahamian made kite and all the reasons I’m proud of it.

Dear Mr. President:

I’ve never written a letter to a President before. I’m not too sure of the protocol that comes along with it and I trust you will forgive me should I make an error in my formatting or in the way in which I address you. Where I’m from there’s not a lot of hope.

We see brief rays of light peak through every now and then, but very seldom does the sun break through the clouds and shine down on young people; allowing us to bask in the full glory of our youth and what that should mean or represent in this time in our lives.

There are many of us however, that have been dedicated to change and have sought hope in a message in which you brought to the forefront years ago. A message I as a fourteen year old in the year 2008 couldn’t’ resonate with as yet, but with time I found the beauty and value in those words, “Yes We Can”.

Attached to this letter is a kite. It’s significant to me for many reasons, one of which is because my mother was adamant on the symbolism of it. What it meant to her, what it now means to me and how we think it’s relevant to you.

In the 1960’s during a turbulent walk to independence in The Bahamas and a demand for Freedom, Various Freedom fighters could still be found in the face of all oppression flying their kites for the world to see on Windsor Park.

They faced a British Government that was adamant to let us go. They battled a Bahamian elite that feared the future of their social stations and they even quarreled with many oppressed Bahamians who at times thought we were not ready.

They faced battles from all ends and yet still found time to fly their kites. Your ability to keep your humanity in the face of all adversity throughout your Presidency was the reason in which we wanted to give this gift to you.

I’m not sure if you will get it in one piece, but should you see it even in its mangled form, I’d like for you to remember the young Bahamian woman and her mother who graciously thank-you for constantly being a world leader whose kite has flown high and proud for 8 amazing years.

Please continue to fly it.


Ashleigh Rolle

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