Mrs. Trump returned to the United States early Sunday morning after a four-country tour of Africa that included highlighting programs for children as part of the BE BEST campaign she unveiled last May.
On her first stop in Ghana, the U.S. first lady was greeted warmly by a young girl with a bouquet and the first lady of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo-Addo. There she visited mothers and babies at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, where she offered White House donated BE BEST blankets, teddy bears, and diaper bags. USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Administrator Mark Green joined her for the visit. USAID “provides robust assistance to this hospital, specifically to support maternal, newborn, and child health,” according to the Office of the First Lady.
Mrs. Trump toured the hospital and donated the sacks used there to weigh babies. She watched a baby get weighed. Medical staff showed her how the hospital educates “new mothers on infant care and the importance of immunizations and good nutrition,” according to her office. Hospital administrators then took Mrs. Trump on a tour of a new wing of the hospital and the newborn intensive care unit.
At Jubilee House, the presidential palace, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Akufo-Addo discussed “maternal and newborn health in all communities,” according to Trump’s office.
On day two of her time in Ghana, Mrs. Trump met with “Chieftains at Emintsimadze Palace and tour Cape Coast Castle, one of about 40 castles used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade,” according to her office. After participating in a cultural ceremony at the palace, Mrs. Trump walked throughout Cape Coast Castle. There she viewed former slave dungeons and placed wreaths at the “Male Dungeon and the Female Insurgents’ Cell in memory of the tens of thousands of innocent people brutally impacted by the cruel injustices that took place at Cape Coast.”
Thank you Ghana! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/d34cqFyRdN
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 4, 2018
Trump traveled from Ghana on to Malawi, where on Thursday First Lady of Malawi Gertrude Mutharika and her granddaughter were there to greet her. Children and dancers performed upon their arrival.
At the 8,000-student Chipala Primary School, Mrs. Trump met with school officials. She toured some of the 22 classrooms where average class size is 106 students. She watched an English class in action and met with teachers, parents, and school management.
Mrs. Trump instilled the importance of educating and empowering youth at a textbook handover ceremony. She donated BE BEST soccer balls, frisbees and tote bags containing classroom supplies.
“The growth and success of a country starts with educating our children,” said the first lady. She thanked the teachers and students at the school, “The positivity and passion to learn was so evident in each classroom, and I appreciate the time everyone took to show me around the school.”
Mrs. Trump and first lady Mutharika discussed making sure education and resources are made available to all children as the two visited at the State House.
Thank you Malawi! 🇺🇸 🇲🇼 pic.twitter.com/rE03LMNzOZ
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 5, 2018
Kenya marked the third stop on the first lady’s trip. There she was welcomed by first lady of the Republic of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta.
On Friday Mrs. Trump visited the Nairobi National Park and Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. She learned about the mission and facilities and joined in with the staff and Mrs. Kenyatta feeding the baby elephants. Park senior warden Nelly Palmeris joined Mrs. Trump for a safari during which Palmeis shared the conservation efforts of Kenya Wildlife Service. The tour included a visit to one of the ivory burn sites.
Singing and dancing children greeted Mrs. Trump, who danced along with them at her next stop, the Nest Baby Village at Nest Children’s Home. The privately funded charitable trust cares for children from newborns to 17-year-olds whose mothers are in prison. There children receive clothing, food, emotional support, medical care, and education. She donated blankets, teddy bears, and bags filled with items including frisbees and waters bottles, and read The Lion and the Mouse book to children. Children gathered in a circle around the first lady for prayer, and before she left each one handed her a flower.
Sweet moment from @FLOTUS Melania Trump Africa trip last week for BE BEST as she gets moving along with dancing children in Kenya (video courtesy press pooler @katierogers) #bebest pic.twitter.com/3xASPBpk5l
— Michelle Moons (@MichelleDiana) October 8, 2018
Mrs. Trump later joined Mrs. Kenyatta at the State House, where the two spoke of the importance of maternal health and kids education. The two joined children to watch a Sarakasi Allstars cultural performance at the Nairobi National Theater.
“My time in Kenya impacted me greatly,” said Mrs. Trump, who offered thanks for all those who met with her. She expressed interest in learning more about the conservation efforts in the country. “The Nest is a prime example of what it means to protect and nurture our next generation – seeing their efforts shape the lives of so many children is something I will never forget,” she added.
Thank you Kenya 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/JrHncob8Qp
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 7, 2018
Egypt was the fourth and final stop on the U.S. first lady’s Africa BE BEST tour. Egypt’s first lady Entissar Amer was there to greet Mrs. Trump as she arrived in Cairo Saturday morning. Her first stop was Ittihadiya Palace for a meeting with Egyptian president President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and the first lady. Mrs. Trump conveyed her “focus and goals of supporting children all over the world in order to ensure future generations have every opportunity to grow up and contribute to society in meaningful and positive ways,” according to her office.
Trump visited cultural sites including the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, where she was briefed on USAID’s Water Table Reduction Project. USAID participates in efforts to preserve one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. She later offered thanks to the president and first lady of Egypt for their hospitality.
As the trip came to a close, first lady Trump held a brief Q&A with reporters. To an initial question about what message she had for the world on behalf of the admin on her trip, she said, “we want to show the world that we care.” After a few questions on the trip, reporters launched into questions about an unnamed source who said President Trump called African nations s***holes, the MeToo movement, whether she believes Kavanaugh’s accuser, whether she advises her husband on tweets and whether she tries to steer him or put down his phone, and about critics who tried to connect a hat she wore to colonialists. In response to the hat question she shot back, “You know what, we just completed an amazing trip…I want to talk about my trip and not what I wear.”
The first lady spent time meeting with U.S. ambassadors and embassy staff in each of the four African nations she visited. She offered thanks to each of first ladies she met with. The first ladies of Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya participated in a recent United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York where Mrs. Trump expressed she was looking forward to visiting “beautiful and different” nations on her tour. Destinations on the tour were chosen for their successful work with USAID, making progress in overcoming big challenges.
First lady Trump first unveiled her BE BEST policy initiative in May. An emphasis of the campaign has been on the multi-faceted well-being of children and parents’ role in teaching children life skills. She has pledged to highlight programs which exemplify the BE BEST initiative.