Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Mending bridges: Unspoken subtext of Melania Trump's Africa visit

Stacy Diaz | 05 October, 2018, 03:42

This afternoon, Mrs Trump landed in Malawi where she was welcomed by Malawi's First Lady Gertrude Mutharika and US Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer among other officials. She observed several outdoor classrooms at Chipala Primary School and saw first-hand the challenges faced by educators. Widespread bipartisan opposition to the steep reductions in Congress, where the budget proposals were essentially ignored, foiled the administration's plans.

"No child in this country is without a book", Malawi's Education Minister Bright Msaka told the first lady. Chipala has more than 8,500 students but just 77 teachers, for a ratio of 111 students per instructor, according to the US government.

"I was heartened to spend time with the students and was honoured to donate school supplies and soccer balls", she said. "It is a lovely thing to see", Trump tweeted.

A group of children is also listed to entertain her on Friday. He credited the partnership between the USA and Malawi with "significantly" improving students' English and Chichewa reading skills. In southern Africa, the vocalization is often done as a celebratory welcome by women.

Another sign said "69 Days Past the Deadline to Reunite Families".

Melania Trump's visit, which started in Ghana and will continue on to Kenya and Egypt, has so far attracted varied interest levels in Africa with few crowds lining streets to see her. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta will also be in attendance.