Madonna arrived in Malawi on a private jet Monday with adopted son, David Banda, and ten-year-old daughter Lourdes for a three-day visit to the southern African country.
Noticeably absent: The rock star’s husband Guy Ritchie and son Rocco, 6. A source at Raising Malawi, a charity organization Madonna has established for her Malawi cause, said: “Mr. Ritchie had some prior business engagements back in London so he stayed back with Rocco.”
However, British media reports said the film director was uncomfortable with the rancor the trip could excite after last year’s controversy surrounding the adoption of David, now 18 months.
The 48-year-old singer and her party were immediately whisked away to the exclusive Kumbali Lodge. After a brief rest, Madonna emerged dressed in combat trousers, khaki T-shirt and black boots, and left for the dusty village of Mtenje, outside Lilongwe, where she and Lourdes met up with Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University, who also serves as a mentor to Angelina Jolie.
Sachs, who Kofi Annan tapped to head the United Nations Millennium Development Project, showed the singer a maize field and a fish pond project which the program is funding.
The pop diva made occasional appreciative nods at the villagers as they performed traditional African songs and dance.
The Material Girl is expected to visit nearby Mphandula Village where she is building a $3 million orphan care center under the banner of Consol Homes.
Madonna will later meet for an emotional reunion of the toddler and his biological father, Yohane Banda.
“I am looking forward to meeting my son,” Banda, 32, told Usmagazine.com. “I have been told I should prepare for the reunion.”
Banda said on Monday that he was yet to be told when the father-son reunion would take place. But, said Banda - a tomato and onion farmer, “I have been instructed to take my mother and cousin” to the yet-to-be-disclosed venue for the reunion.
If the meeting takes place it will be Banda’s second encouter with the singer. Banda met Madonna and Ritchie on October 12 last year in the High Court in Lilongwe when they signed papers okaying the adoption.
Madonna found David at Home of Hope a year after his father, Yohane Banda, surrendered him there after his wife of 10 years died of child birth complications. Marita, 28, died on October 1, 2005 — a week after giving birth to David. David’s two earlier siblings both died in infancy.