The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 28, 2007

Remarks by First Lady Laura Bush and First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa in An Exchange of Toasts
Taj Pamodzi Hotel
Lusaka, Zambia

7:56 P.M. (Local)

MRS. MWANAWASA: Distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, please join me now as I pause to toast. And may I ask you to stand.

To the continued personal good health and well being of His Excellency the President of the United States of America, His Excellency George W. Bush; the continued personal good health and well being of the First Lady of the United States of America, Mrs. Laura Bush; to the continued personal good health and well being of our Excellency the Ambassador of the United States of America, Mrs. Martinez; to the continued peace, stability and prosperity of the American people; to the continued cordial and fraternal relations between Zambia and the United States of America; and to the well being and happiness of distinguished guests here present.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

MRS. BUSH: Madam First Lady, Ambassadors, distinguished guests, the Ministers that are here and all the distinguished guests: Thank you very, very much for hosting this beautiful dinner for me today, and for your warm hospitality all day.

We did have a very busy day. (Laughter.) We saw a lot of things. We worked really hard, you'll be glad to know. We went from a school to the community center, where we met care-givers -- care-givers who were taking care of people in their homes who were ill with AIDS, as well as taking care of orphan children. And that was a very, very moving experience. We went on to some great micro-enterprise projects, where women are able to take care of themselves, support themselves -- many of them are widows -- because of loans that they make to each other, actually. It was a banking program where they bank their own money. And that was really wonderful.

We saw everything today. We saw HIV/AIDS projects. We saw malaria projects. We saw many very moving and sweet faith-based projects, where ministers and pastors and imams are working in each one of their communities to extend the reach of care to people who are either ill or vulnerable in some way.

We saw great education projects -- the African Education Initiative that brought textbooks, produced in conjunction with the people of Zambia and the Mississippi consortium -- the consortium of historically black universities in Mississippi. That was really great to see those. They'll be delivered later this year, but we saw some of them.

We saw girls who are on scholarship through the African Education Initiative and got to hear their stories and how their lives will be changed. And the very inspiring things, what they want to do to give back to their country, to Zambia. A lot of them want to be doctors, because they want to take care of people. (Applause.)

It was a really, really wonderful and very moving day. There were a few tears at different times during the day when we heard stories. There was a lot of laughter. There was some dancing -- not a lot by the First Lady and me, but a little bit. (Laughter.)

So I want to thank every one of you. I want to thank you for your hospitality. I want to thank you for your friendship to me, and for welcoming me in such a friendly and warm and, I know, Zambian way, to your beautiful country. (Applause.) And I especially want to thank you for your friendship to the United States.

So here is to the country of Zambia. Here is to the President and the First Lady. And here is to a very, very long-lasting friendship between our two nations.

(A toast was offered.) (Applause.)

END 8:10 P.M. (Local)

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