Melania Trump opens Africa tour with a wave and baby in arms

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Melania Trump opened her first big solo international trip as U.S. first lady on Tuesday with a wave, a smile and a baby in her arms, aiming to promote child welfare during a five-day tour of Africa.

She arrived in the West African nation of Ghana after an overnight flight from Washington and quickly made her way to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital.

The first lady saw how babies are weighed — they're placed in sacks that are then hung from a hook attached to a scale. She also watched a nurse demonstrate how vitamins are administered to babies by mouth and toured the neonatal intensive care unit.

Mrs. Trump also cradled an infant and declared the baby a "beautiful boy" as she handed him back to his mother.

See images of Melania Trump and the baby in Ghana:

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Melania Trump promotes child welfare on Africa trip
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Melania Trump promotes child welfare on Africa trip
U.S. first lady Melania Trump holds a child during a visit to a hospital in Accra, Ghana, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. first lady Melania Trump holds a child during a visit to a hospital in Accra, Ghana, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. first lady Melania Trump greets children during a visit to a hospital in Accra, Ghana, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
US First Lady Melania Trump greets patients during a visit to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, Ghana, on October 2, 2018, as she begins her week-long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump holds a baby during a visit to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, on October 2, 2018, as she begins her week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump (R) and Rebecca Akufo-Addo (3rdR) watch as a baby is weighed during a visit to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, on October 2, 2018, as US First Lady begins a week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump donates teddy bears to patients during a visit to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, on October 2, 2018, as she begins her week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump holds a baby during a visit to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra on October 2, 2018, as she begins a week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump holds a baby during a visit to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, on October 2, 2018, as she begins her week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump is greeted by Ghana officials during an arrival ceremony after landing at Kotoka International Airport in Accra October 2, 2018 as she begins her week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US First Lady Melania Trump receives flowers during an arrival ceremony after landing at Kotoka International Airport in Accra October 2, 2018 as she begins her week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump receives flowers during an arrival ceremony after landing at Kotoka International Airport in Accra October 2, 2018 as she begins her week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US First Lady Melania Trump waves during an arrival ceremony after landing at Kotoka International Airport in Accra October 2, 2018 as she begins her week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives in Accra, Ghana October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko
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Mothers at the hospital for her visit received gifts of teddy bears nestled in white baby blankets, personally handed out by the first lady, according to her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham. The items carried the logo of "Be Best," the child well-being initiative Mrs. Trump launched last May.

With the Africa visit, the first lady aims to take "Be Best" and its focus on opioid abuse and online behavior to an international audience.

The first lady also had a private tea and gift exchange with her Ghanaian counterpart, Rebecca Akufo-Addo. They exchanged gifts: a Chippendale silver tray embossed with an image of the White House inside a leather case signed by "First Lady Melania Trump" for Akufo-Addo, and Kente cloth and artifacts for Mrs. Trump, according to Grisham.

The first ladies met privately for about a half-hour at Jubilee House, Ghana's presidential palace. The two first met last week in New York at a reception on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, where Mrs. Trump spoke about her upcoming trip.

Mrs. Trump's visit opened in low-key fashion. Several Ghanaians interviewed said they knew little about it.

"Did you say President Trump's wife just arrived in Accra?" street vendor Awo Yeboah told the AP. "l don't think l have ever heard her name, Melania." Other locals said they knew about the visit but didn't know what Mrs. Trump was doing.

Mrs. Trump landed in the capital of Accra on Tuesday morning after a more than 12-hour journey from Washington. She was welcomed at the airport with dancing and drumming, schoolchildren waving mini U.S. and Ghanaian flags and the gift of a flower bouquet.

Akufo-Addo was at the airport to welcome her. Mrs. Trump also plans to visit Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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