At the widows' march
Cutting the ribbon with Madame Bongo
Madame Bongo and Cherie led a widows' march through the centre of Libreville
On 24 June, the First Lady of Gabon invited Cherie to continue the UN celebrations of the first International Widows' Day by paying a short visit to Gabon.
After an eventful trip due to an unscheduled stop in Perpignan for 8 hours, Cherie joined Madame Bongo in Libreville at a Symposium to discuss the recent Experts' Report on Widows in Gabon which records the plight of widows. Various speakers discussed the subject, some emotive videos were shown, and the new laws which Gabon had already brought in to protect widows' rights were highlighted.
After a Reception Cherie joined Madame Bongo for the opening of a new widows' centre called Centre Mbandja. Here widows will receive advice, counseling and help with problems they are encountering.
Madame Bongo and Cherie cut the ribbon together and then led a widows' march through the centre of Libreville. It was an emotional march which saw all the participants wearing commemorative T shirts, whilst singing, chanting and blowing trumpets. There was much support from onlookers who waved, joined in with the chanting and singing and hooted their horns.
The march ended at a widows' fair where widows were selling their produce, clothes, beads and tableware and gifts.
Following a private dinner with the President and Mrs Bongo, Cherie returned to London overnight.