"We want to welcome her," said Veronica Muz, a local journalist. "And I definitely want to know what shoes she is wearing."
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For the record, she descended the steps of her plane in heels, but was wearing flats by the time she walked across a school's duty courtyard on her first stop. It was a public school, where some 8,554 students share 77 teachers and 22 indoor classrooms.
A factsheet produced by White House advance team did the brutal math: That's a 111:1 student to teacher ratio.
"Thank you for having me here and for the beautiful welcome," Mrs. Trump told students and teachers. "I wanted to see a successful program that the United States is providing for children."
The Chipala Primary School, made of homemade bricks and lit only by natural light, was little more than a cluster of buildings around a central courtyard.
"We have 15 outdoor classrooms," said Maureen Masie, the head teacher, in an interview. "The biggest class is 318 pupils."
When it rains, those outdoor classes get dismissed. "It makes it very difficult for our teachers to finish their syllabus," she said.
"For us to have the first lady, it's really a great honor," she added. "And we feel that some of the things are going to change at our school."
A poor education system is one reason why women leave school too soon and have babies too early.
That leads to a pregnancy rate of roughly 40 percent among 15-19 year olds, according to the United Nations.
More than 70 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day. The power grid is temperamental. Most grocery stores, hotels and restaurants have back-up generators.
Across the street from the school, carpenters chiseled furniture by hand, working under the hot sun, not a power tool in sight. During the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, there was brisk business for coffins.