Melania Trump delivers books, balls and hope in Malawi

First lady Melania Trump, bearing soccer balls and books, visited a crowded primary school in Malawi’s capital on October 4, where smiling children serenaded her and she watched a teacher deliver a lesson outdoors to scores of pupils seated on the ground.

The Chipala Primary School in Lilongwe, with 8,500 students and 75 teachers, is one of many in Malawi benefiting from U.S. assistance.

Beyond the balls and tote bags bearing the slogan “Be Best” of her campaign for children’s health and well-being, the first lady joined U.S. Ambassador Virginia Palmer in the school library for the announcement that a U.S. reading program is donating 1.4 million more books in addition to the nearly 10 million already distributed to schools across the country.

The first lady, on the third day of her goodwill visit to Africa, also visited indoor classrooms, conversed with teachers and watched lessons in English and the Chichewa language. “Thank you for educating them to be the best,” Trump told teachers.

Melania Trump standing by fence waving to crowd of children (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)
Melania Trump waves to schoolchildren at Chipala Primary School. (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)

“I wanted to be here to see the successful programs that [the] United States is providing the children, and thank you for everything you’ve done,” said Trump.

“Meeting these children and understanding their different way of life is why I wanted to travel here,” Trump said later. “I was heartened to spend time with the students and was honored to donate school supplies and soccer balls.”

In Washington, President Trump tweeted: “Our country’s great First Lady, Melania, is doing really well in Africa. The people love her, and she loves them! It is a beautiful thing to see.”

She arrived in Malawi after a two-day stop in Ghana.

Melania Trump and Gertrude Maseko walking out of Malawi State House (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Malawi’s first lady, Gertrude Maseko, at the State House (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)

Following the school visit, Trump arrived at the State House to have tea with Malawi’s first lady, Gertrude Maseko. The two first ladies enjoyed a walk through the gardens and watched a traditional dance performance.

Trump’s trip to Africa, her maiden solo international voyage as U.S. first lady, is focused on maternal and child health and children’s education as part of her “Be Best” campaign. She is also making a point of showcasing the work of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

She journeys next to Nairobi, Kenya, then Cairo.