Melania Trump visited a former slave trading fort in Ghana on Wednesday, the second day of the US first lady’s maiden solo tour of Africa promoting her children’s welfare program.
Trump said she “will never forget” her visit, calling it “very emotional” and “really something that people should see and experience.”
A sign hung from the whitewashed walls of the Cape Coast castle, some 145 kilometers (90 miles) from the capital, Accra, welcomed the first lady to the site.
A relaxed and smiling Trump arrived in Accra from Washington on Tuesday to a red carpet welcome of traditional dancing and flag-waving schoolchildren. She was greeted with huge cheering crowds every where she traveled, in contradiction to media reports during the last year since President Trump had made comments about the worst parts of the continent.
In a day of engagements as part of her “Be Best” campaign in education and healthcare, she handed out teddy bears to newborns and met her Ghanaian counterpart, Rebecca Akufo-Addo.
The highlight of Wednesday’s itinerary was the tour of Cape Coast castle, a major outpost on the Atlantic slave trading route, where she also met members of the local Fante tribe.
The imposing fort on the windswept coast, where untold numbers of people were kept in dark dungeons before being shipped overseas, is now on the Unesco World Heritage List.
The first lady’s week-long visit to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt has been seen as an attempt to carve her own path and emerge from her husband’s shadow.
Those who met Melania Trump on Tuesday said they found the enigmatic former model “warm” and “gentle,” although she made no speech and on Wednesday was heard largely thanking local dignitaries.
The first lady wants to highlight the work of the US Agency for International Development.
The president tweeted about his wife’s meeting with new mothers: “Proud of our great First Lady – and she loves doing this!”
Photographs of the two first ladies featured on the front pages of major newspapers in Ghana while the visit was talked about on morning radio shows.
Lead photo: Melania Trump walks with museum educator Kwesi Essel-Blankson at the Cape Coast castle. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images