Melania Trump kicks off Africa tour in Ghana

US First lady Melania Trump and Ghana's first lady Rebecca Akufo Addo watch dancers during an arrival ceremony

US First lady Melania Trump and Ghana's first lady Rebecca Akufo Addo watch dancers during an arrival ceremony

Melania Trump opened her first big solo global trip to Africa as USA first lady on Tuesday with a wave, a smile and a baby in her arms. Then-President Barack Obama brought his family in July 2009.

Before she entered the castle, she was granted permission from the chief of the region in an elaborate ceremony, which included the exchange of kente cloths. A USA official said the chief had invited two disabled children from a nearby school to the ceremony with the first lady, a break from local tradition in which it had previously been considered taboo to have anyone with handicaps in the palace. She spent about 10 minutes inside the dark, cramped dungeon where male slaves were housed.

Melania Trump has made advocating for children her signature issue since becoming first lady.

"I will never forget the stories.really, really touching".

On Wednesday the first lady toured Cape Coast Castle, a 17th-century facility in the seaside town of Cape Coast built by the Swedes to trade in timber and gold but became a place where slaves were held until they could be shipped out through a "Door of No Return".

The contrast with last week's high drama over Donald Trump's nomination to the Supreme Court was telling, as a relaxed-looking first lady visited a hospital in Ghana's capital, Accra, to meet mothers and their newborns.

In August of this year, Melania re-wore a $1,280 striped shirt dress by designer Adam Lippes, having first stepped out in the number back in March during a visit to Palm Beach's St. Mary's Medical Center, where she delivered Easter baskets to young children.

"It's really, really touching", she said.

Numerous tweeters noticed the change in her demeanor, with Diane Ethier writing: 'Anyone else notice how happy Melania Trump looks on her SOLO trip?'

Trump also plans to visit Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.

Mrs. Trump's final event of the first day in Africa was a private tea with Ghanaian first lady Akufo-Addo at Jubilee House, the presidential palace.

First lady Melania Trump accepts flowers from flower girl Lillian Naa Adai Sai, 8, as she receives flowers as she arrives at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.

The US First Lady cuddled some babies at the hospital, before also donating a phototherapy machine, teddy bears and assorted baby items.

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