*Michelle Obama, her mother and first daughters Sasha and Malia left Sunday for a trip to Africa, marking the second official solo journey abroad for the first lady.
The goal of her trip is to promote U.S. policies on education, health, and democracy, according to Reuters. She’ll make stops in Johannesburg and Cape Town first, then Botswana later in the week.
“This trip by the first lady is very directly connected to the president’s agenda in Africa and the Obama administration’s foreign policy in Africa,” Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser told reporters last week.
“It’s no coincidence that she would be visiting countries that have embraced democracy, (and) in many respects, have shown that not only does their democracy deliver for its citizens, but it can provide a positive example for the neighborhood that these countries are in as well.”
In South Africa she will meet Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela. She will also visit the island where Mandela was imprisoned under apartheid. In Botswana she will meet with President Ian Khama and with women leaders. She will also see a nature reserve.
The first lady’s previous official solo sojourn abroad was to Mexico.