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Botswana is latest stop on Michelle Obama's Africa tour

June 24, 2011|By Katherine Skiba, Washington Bureau
(Charles Dharapak / Pool )

Reporting from Mokolodi Nature Reserve, Botswana — A blazing sun slipped toward the African horizon on a crisp Friday evening. Flames danced from fragrant firewood arrayed in metal pits. A turquoise-headed bird, the size of a finch, sounded out a high-pitched "cheep-cheep-cheep" and performed aerial acrobatics before scribblers, sound technicians, photographers and security men and women whose trained eyes kept watch.

One minute shy of half past six, First Lady Michelle Obama showed up for dinner at Mokolodi, a round, fieldstone restaurant with a thatched roof. She was with her mother, daughters, a niece and nephew, most clad in hats and gloves. The first lady wore a olive-colored sweater with a yellow-and-black print scarf wrapped around her neck.

Such was the scene as Obama dined with her family and aides after arriving Friday in Botswana, the second stop in her weeklong tour of Africa.

Earlier, Obama met with President Ian Khama, a approximately 40-minute session in his office that was billed as a "courtesy call."

The U.S. ambassador to Botswana, Michelle Gavin, who arrived in country June 15, sat in on the session. She characterized the meeting as "terrific" but did not provide specifics.

Afterward, a lightning-fast photo opportunity saw Khama and Obama pose side-by-side by the U.S. flag and the a blue, black and white flag of Botswana, which won its independence from the British in 1966.

Obama is to meet Saturday with U.S. Embassy employees and their families before what her office described as "private family safari events."

She is scheduled to return to the United States on Sunday.

Staff writer Michael A. Memoli in Washington contributed to this report.

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