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“He wanted me to act like a boy, even though I didn’t feel it in my soul,” she says.

Teased and bullied, she dropped out of school after the third grade and decided to learn how to cook.

As it turned out, she was pretty good at it, making her way into the kitchens of several high-ranking officials by the time she was a teenager, she recalls with a smile and a wink. And so it was, at a cocktail party in 1969, that she met Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother, who had arrived in the country two years earlier after marrying her second husband, Indonesian Lolo Soetoro.

Dunham was so impressed by Evie’s beef steak and fried rice that she offered her a job in the family home. It didn’t take long before Evie also was 8-year-old Barry’s caretaker, playing with him and bringing him to and from school.

Neighbors recalled that they often saw Evie leave the house in the evening fully made up and dressed in drag. But she says it’s doubtful Barry ever knew.

“He was so young,” says Evie. “And I never let him see me wearing women’s clothes. But he did see me trying on his mother’s lipstick, sometimes. That used to really crack him up.”

When the family left in the early 1970s, things started going downhill. She moved in with a boyfriend. That relationship ended three years later, and she became a sex worker.

“I tried to get a job as a maid, but no one would hire me,” says Evie. “I needed money to buy food, get a place to stay.”

It was a cat-and-mouse game with security guards and — because the country was still under the dictatorship of Gen. Suharto — soldiers. They often rounded up “banshees” or “warias,” as they are known locally, loaded them into trucks, and brought them to a field where they were kicked, hit and otherwise abused.

The raid that changed everything came in 1985. She and her friends scattered into dark alleys to escape the swinging batons. One particularly beautiful girl, Susi, jumped into a canal strewn with garbage.

When things quieted, those who ran went back to look for her.

“We searched all night,” says Evie, who is still haunted by the memory of her friend’s face. “Finally … we found her. It was horrible. Her body swollen, face bashed in.”

Today Evie seeks solace in religion, going regularly to the mosque and praying five times a day. She says she’s just waiting to die.

“I don’t have a future anymore.”

She says she didn’t know the boy she helped raise won the 2008 U.S. presidential election until she saw a picture of the family in local newspapers and on TV. She blurted out that she knew him.

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