Hillary Clinton sent out her second tweet around 9 a.m. EDT today.
Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton
What an incredible Twitter welcome! In my hometown Chicago for #CGIAmerica. 11amET I'll talk about my #BHCCF work http://bit.ly/CGIa13
Last night, folks in her new hometown were following her through Africa on her final tour there as secretary of state. Grace Bennett, of Inside Chappaqua Magazine, accompanied Secretary Clinton on that trip and shared her experience as a member of the travelling press corps with an auditorium full of her neighbors at the Chappaqua Library. Titled “Travelling with Hillary Clinton,” the event drew an audience of well over 100 causing the library parking lot to fill to capacity and overflow to a nearby lot.
Introduced by Chappaqua Library’s Program Coordinator Joan Kuhn, Grace provided some background on how this bit of personal history came about, explaining that she believes in listening to the inner voice that told her to start Inside Chappaqua ten years ago. She said that when she subtitled it The Magazine for New Castle and Beyond, she was thinking of beyond more as White Plains than Africa.
Like many Chappaqua residents, she encountered her senator, who later became our secretary of state, from time to time in town and requested an interview often. Hillary told her that she really did not have time, and Grace said. “Well, you'll just have to take me along on a trip!” That remark set off a series of events that ultimately put Grace in one of the press seats on Air Mission 757 – Hillary's Big Blue Bird.
Grace showed about 30 slides of the trip in no particular order explaining the significance of each and identifying the principals. Criss-crossing Africa from Senegal to Somalia and South Africa to Benin, the journey included stops in 10 African countries before the last stop in Istanbul where Hillary attended a meeting on Syria. Grace mentioned that in just about every African country, Hillary was greeted by dancers which she thoroughly enjoyed and sometimes danced along and asked for encores.
|Photo credit: Grace Bennett|
She showed photos of dignitaries in dazzling traditional dress. Here, Hillary is with Joyce Banda, first woman president of Malawi where Hillary had a lot of fun at a dairy cooperative and made a gft, via USAID, of a dairy bull named Emanuel.
|Photo credit: Grace Bennett|
Here, she is with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and other Nigerian officials. Nigeria was added late in the tour while security issues were being addressed. The Nigerians badly wanted her to visit since they knew she would not be returning to the continent as SOS.
Recounting her favorite moment of the trip, Grace recalled a 45 minute “drinks with the secretary” event with press and staff. When a staffer and reporter began debating who had a harder job and life, Grace suggested they trade places as in the movie “The Parent Trap.” Hillary loved the suggestion.
Ending her talk by reading the congratulatory letter Hillary had delivered to Grace's 10th anniversary party in March, she then took questions from the audience. Yours truly, remembering that, while in South Africa. Hillary was given an African name, “Nimkita,” asked if she knew what it meant. Grace was very happy to answer that since, as a sort of outlier among the more travel-seasoned press, it was the one piece of information she had gotten that none of the others had, so they all had to go to Grace for the information. She said that the full name, correctly, is Namkita Nolegua which is Zulu for “She who shines light on all who follow.” We who follow agree, and especially enjoyed following her last night!
Thank you, Grace, for a terrific presentation!
Archives for the Africa tour begin here.