Students at Jeffers Hill Elementary School in Columbia's Village of Long Reach will get the chance to meet an African
dignitary Thursday when the first lady of the Republic of Burundi visits their school.
Pascasie Ntibantunganya will tour the school during a brief stop here after she and her husband, President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, visit Washington, D.C., said Doris Ligon, founder and director of the African Art Museum of Maryland in Town Center.
The Columbia visit, which is being sponsored by the center, offers an opportunity for young people of all races to see Africa and Africans in a positive light after all the negative stereotypes, Mrs. Ligon said.
"Here is a person who is dignified in all respects and is multilingual," she said of the first lady of Burundi, which is in east central Africa.
Ruth Heath, Jeffers Hill's principal, said the school is looking forward to the visit and plans to give Mrs. Ntibantunganya flowers.
After the first lady visits the school, she will have lunch at the museum and visit the Columbia Association.
Ms. Ligon six years ago began a relationship with officials at the Embassy of Burundi, after she and her husband met the ambassador.
"We have a good relationship. They have done for us and we have done for them," Mrs. Ligon said. "It's a good friendship."