Throughout first lady Michelle Obama's trip to Africa, The Root will be running selected press pool reports.
FLOTUS POOL REPORT 1 — Fri., 6/24/11
Gaborone, Botswana — FLOTUS is wheels down in Botswana. She was greeted with a traditional welcome by 25 children ages 6 to 18, who wore traditional costumes of hide and what looked like zebra skin and shells around their ankles.
They clapped and danced, and sang "Obama Ye-Le-Le." Another 50 children waved U.S. And Botswana flags.
At the airport FLOTUS was also greeted by Dr. Gloria Somolekae, assistant minister of Finance and Development Planning; Daphne Kadiwa, chief of protocol; U.S. Ambassador Michelle Gavin. (all standard stuff) The weather here is chilly but sunny. Quite a bit more pleasant than Cape Town.
Her first stop here was the Botswana-Baylor Adolescent Centre of Excellence. There she joined the center's "Teen Club" completing a mural at the construction site that will become the adolescent center. The center is affiliated with Baylor University's Pediatric AIDS initiative. (go Texas!) The Teen Clubs are a kind of support program for HIV infected children and teens affected by the virus. Some of them have lost their parents to the disease. The kids are considered survivors.
Over 80 percent of children with HIV don't live past the age of 6. The center at Baylor here provides treatment for 4,000 kids with HIV/AIDS and their families. It started in 2003. FLOTUS painted a sun on a panorama of scenes of children playing, homes and blue sky.
By the way, at the red-carpet farewell in South Africa she was seen off by Consul General Dr. Alberta Mayberry; Ambassador Don Gips and his wife, Elizabeth Gips; Nate Holt, deputy principal officer (U.S. Consulate); and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African minister of foreign affairs. Gips, who traveled from event to event with the first lady and her family, had hugs for all.
Speaking of red carpet, FLOTUS began the day wearing an orange pants suit with a graphic belt by designer Tory Burch, according to an aide. (She changed into a more casual outfit for the mural painting. Heather gray top, gray slacks with paint splatters and gray converse.)
The entire Obama fam joined in the painting. FLOTUS was hesitant to leave not having had time to blend the paint on her portion of the mural. Her next stop in Botswana is a women's leadership lunch, continuing the theme of empowering young women. FLOTUS is expected to speak there.