"It’s a common expression here... Usually, it means the person hasn’t seen you in a while. ‘You’ve been lost,’ they’ll say. Or ‘Don’t get lost.’ Sometimes it has a more serious meaning. Let’s say a son or husband moves to the city, or to the West, like our Uncle Omar, in Boston. They promise to return after completing school. They say they’ll send for the family once they get settled. At first they write once a week. Then it’s just once a month. Then they stop writing completely. No one sees them again. They’ve been lost, you see. Even if people know where they are."
So said Aunt Zeituni, quoted in Barack "Barry" Obama's "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance."
Zeituni Onyango died yesterday at the age of 61.