First lady Michelle Obama sat in on three breakout sessions that took place after her stirring keynote address to participants at the Young African Women Leaders Forum Wednesday morning. This time around, however, she just listened, indicating approval with a nod or the finger snap the young women used to express agreement on a positive solution to whatever issue they were discussing. The conversations touched on a broad range of issues, including the need for more child care options for working women to domestic violence in schools.
Next on her itinerary was a stop at the Nanga Vhuthilo community center in Soweto that serves 300 families. The first lady and a small number of the women from the leadership forum helped plant a garden. Obama harvested carrots and spinach and may even have ruined a really nice pair of black slacks in the process. But as she said, harvesting vegetables is really good for the biceps and she knows from good biceps!
The first lady also was generous with hugs for children who asked for them. The children also danced the Setswana dance and sang a goodbye song to the first lady and her family.
“Some got a glimpse, some a word & others got a hug! What we all got, was inspiration. 1st Lady, #YoungAfrica salutes u,” twittered our BET correspondent traveling with Obama.
“The 1st Lady certainly put a new meaning to gardening today. She has planted a seed of hope in the hearts of many #YoungAfrica,” added an MTV correspondent.
The first family is en route to Cape Town, where the first lady is scheduled to meet with a group of students from historically disadvantaged communities at the University of Cape Town. She also will join Archbishop Desmond Tutu and members of different organizations dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS at the Cape Town Soccer Stadium, where a group of children will participate in soccer activities and drills on the field.
Check out BET.com for daily updates from the first lady’s trip. Twitter users will be able to track updates about the first lady’s experiences and interact with others who are following the trip with the hashtag #youngafrica.
(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)