BLANTYRE, Malawi — Pop diva Madonna, spending her fourth day in the southern African country of Malawi on Thursday, picked up ailing children and joked with them when she visited an overcrowded children’s ward in Blantyre, the country’s largest city.
“Muli bwanji? (How are you?)” she greeted them in Malawi’s main language, Chichewa.
Madonna, with her son, Rocco, went to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, which she has been supporting for five years through its chief pediatrician, Dr. Eric Borgstein.
“Eric Borgstein is a hero of mine” said Madonna. “He is doing a wonderful job.”
The ward performs at least 500 surgeries a year on poor children, Borgstein said.
Madonna is the largest individual donor to the hospital and funds programs run by Borgstein that include treating children with cancer, said Trevor Neilson, president of the Global Philanthropy Group that is managing Madonna’s projects in Malawi.
Born and raised in Malawi, Borgstein said he studied medicine at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands before returning to his home country. He said he has been working in children’s health for 15 years, treating up to 40 patients daily. Malawi has only three pediatric surgeons, Borgstein said.
He is currently a partner of Raising Malawi, the nonprofit organization that Madonna co-founded with Michael Berg in 2006 to help Malawian children.
On Friday, Madonna and her traveling party are scheduled to visit Consol Homes Orphan Care Centre, 31 miles outside the capital, Lilongwe, where Kaballah religious teachings are practiced, according to a media advisory.
Beyonce, Jay-Z celebrate 5th anniversary in Havana
HAVANA — Beyonce and Jay-Z caused a big stir in Havana as they marked their fifth wedding anniversary Thursday.
R&B’s power couple was mobbed by dozens of well-wishers at the renowned restaurant La Guarida on Wednesday night, and police had to step in to keep the crowds at bay.
La Guarida staffers showed pictures of the two dining on typical Cuban creole favorites – fish, chicken, black beans and rice – accompanied by their mothers.
“She was beautiful, without a drop of makeup, very natural,” waitress Silvia Fernandez said of Beyonce.
On Thursday, the couple toured colonial Old Havana wearing dark glasses and surrounded by bodyguards and excited fans.
Beyonce posed for pictures with local schoolchildren while Jay-Z puffed on a Cuban cigar, and then they popped into another restaurant that boasts a rooftop terrace with a sweeping view of the harbor.
Watch out, world; Springer gets new TV show
NEW YORK — Jerry Springer is getting another television show.
The Investigation Discovery network said Thursday that Springer will host “Tabloid,” a new weekly series that will look at some of the bizarre stories in the tabloids found at supermarket checkout lines. The series will debut early next year.
ID said Springer was a natural choice because he’s no stranger to over-the-top characters. His brawling talk show is a staple of daytime television. Springer said he enjoys telling stories that cover the full range of human experiences and emotions.