United States First Lady Laura Bush started a
five-day, four-country tour of Africa with a stop in Dakar, Senegal. Kari Barber
reports for VOA from Dakar that Mrs. Bush toured a hospital HIV/AIDS center and
met with young women who received a U.S.-government backed scholarship to
continue their education.
Mrs. Bush picked vegetables and placed them in a basket as she greeted Steve
Bolinger, creator of a garden designed to provide food and income for patients
living with HIV/AIDS.
At the Fann Hospital, Mrs. Bush also distributed mosquito nets treated with
repellent to HIV/AIDS patients who are highly susceptible to malaria.
"We just eradicated malaria in the United States in about 1950," said Mrs.
Bush. "We know malaria can be eradicated, so we stand with you as you try to
eradicate malaria in Senegal."
Through her visit, Mrs. Bush is looking at how U.S. aid is being used to
fight malaria and HIV/AIDS in Africa and to improve education.
The first lady met with President Abdoulaye Wade and first lady Viviane Wade
at the presidential palace.
She also held audience at Grande Medine grade school where she recognized
five female students who won scholarships through the U.S. Africa Education
Mrs. Bush talked with one of the winners, named Nango.
"Nango says her scholarship gives her an opportunity few girls in her rural
village have ever had. The chance to be educated past primary school." she said.
"Now Nango plans to become the first girl in her village to attend a
Before a crowd at the school, Mrs. Bush announced the United
States will send 800,000 textbooks to Senegal schools before the end of the
summer. She also promised more training for teachers and scholarships for young
"An investment in education, no matter how significant, is always worth it,"
said Mrs. Bush. "By investing in education, governments meet their other
fundamental obligations to improve opportunities for family's and children, to
strengthen their economy and to keep their citizens in good health."
President and Mrs. Bush's daughter Jenna Bush is accompanying her
mother on the tour. Mrs. Bush's trip will continue through Friday with stops in Mozambique, Zambia