First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off her two-day visit to Mexico with a mixture of culture, policy and song and dance.
At the Escuela Siete de Enero, an elementary school in a low-income neighborhood in Mexico City, the students screamed with delight when the first lady stepped out of her vehicle.
“Mi-che-elle,” the children chanted loudly. There were large signed with the students’ handprints that read “Bienvenida Sra. Obama” – Welcome Mrs. Obama.
The first lady was given flowers and kisses on the cheek from a young female student.
While she is not here touting her “Let’s Move!” campaign, Mrs. Obama did observe a phys ed class and even joined in for some drills, a follow the leader-call and respond dance.
The students rewarded the first lady with a large conch shell that they had used in the dance routine.
“That was beautiful. I loved the singing, I loved the dancing,” Obama said at the conclusion.
“I loved to see you all moving and exercising. So just know today you made your country proud. Everyone here today got to see the best of Mexico’s young people.”
Obama said that of all the things she does abroad, what she likes best is getting to see smart intelligent students.
The first lady did her version of a ropeline – complete hugs instead of handshakes.
With Mexico’s first lady, President Felipe Calderon’s wife, Margarita Zavala, Obama toured the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, which holds the largest collection of ancient Mexican pieces in the world.
The first ladies were treated to a performance by the National Program for the Promotion of Music, which encourages artistic expression in young Mexican children. The National Children’s chorus, which is made up of kids from around the country, including some with special needs, performed.
The two first ladies met for about 45 minutes this morning at Los Pinos, the official residence of Mexico’s president.
According to aides to Obama, the two discussed drug addiction treatment and early prevention programs as well as the importance of the humane treatment of unaccompanied migrant children.
“Mrs Obama and Mrs. Zavala underscored the importance of engaging families and communities in tackling the challenges facing young people in both countries as a key to helping build a better future for the United States and Mexico,” a statement from the first lady’s office read.
Later today Obama will deliver a speech at Universidad Iberoameriana, the signature event of this two-day trip.
In her remarks to university and high school students from in and around Mexico City, Obama will address the role that students can take in their communities and their development into leadership positions.
-Yunji de Nies and Karen Travers