First lady focuses on Africa’s children, wildlife, antiquities

First lady Melania Trump concluded her travels across Africa voicing pride in American-funded efforts to alleviate poverty and in her own steps to improve the lives of children.

It was “an amazing trip,” the first lady told reporters on October 6 as the four-nation goodwill visit and her first major solo international trip came to a conclusion.

As she visited Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt, she toured a hospital, an orphanage, schools and a wildlife preserve. She stepped through the doorway of what was an infamous slave-trading fort overlooking the Atlantic and stood before the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

What mattered most, she told the travelling press corps, was the attention the trip drew to “what we’re doing with USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development] and what I do with my initiatives” to promote children’s health and well-being. She brought children gifts imprinted with the name of her “Be Best” program.

Asked what she would take home from her visit, she replied that it was the warm welcome from people everywhere.

Melania Trump standing and shaking hands with seated African chief (Andrea Hanks/The White House)
(Andrea Hanks/The White House)

At a colorful ceremony in the Emintsimadze Palace in Cape Coast, Ghana, Trump shook hands with Paramount Chief Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II on October 3 and received his formal permission to visit Cape Coast Castle, where thousands of enslaved Africans were brought and shipped like cargo to the Americas. “What happened so many years ago was really a tragedy,” she said afterward.

Melania Trump (far right) sitting with two African schoolchildren and woman in front of a class (Andrea Hanks/The White House)
(Andrea Hanks/The White House)

In Malawi on October 4, Trump observed classes at the crowded Chipala Primary School where children learn English and local languages. Two pupils seated between head teacher Maureen Masi and the first lady. Trump also announced the donation to Malawi’s 5,600 primary schools of 1.4 million books through a U.S.-funded reading program.

Melania Trump sits in a safari truck as zebras graze around her (Andrea Hanks/The White House)
(Andrea Hanks/The White House)

Trump’s October 5 visit to Kenya focused on animal conservation. She fed baby elephants and was escorted on a safari through Nairobi National Park by game warden Nelly Palmeris, who discussed the measures Kenya has taken to stop poaching and the illicit ivory trade.