Villagers in Java remember Obama's mom

President Barack Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, dressed in traditional batik cloth and taught Javanese women how to cook, according to villagers who lived with her in the jungle while she researched her graduate thesis in anthropology in 1983.

After nearly 20 years, Dunham's thesis is being republished as a book late this month, and the UK's The Sunday Times brought advance review copies to the central Javan village of Kajar to show locals, many of whom were shocked to learn that Dunham was the mother of the U.S. President.

Villagers told the Times that Dunham loved wearing skirts made from the traditional cloth of the island, batik, and that she was “...anxious to raise the position and role of women, especially in villages...teaching young mothers how to make soup, showing an interest in them."

President Obama was a teenager living with his grandparents in Hawaii during the time Dunham lived in Java, but his half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng frequently accompanied her into the jungle. 

'Surviving Against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia' is being published in the States by Duke University Press, which offers pre-ordering.

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