LILONGWE, Malawi — Madonna toured an impoverished village and discussed plans Sunday for building a new school in Malawi, the central African country where officials said she would begin proceedings this week to adopt a young girl.
Madonna, casually dressed with a white fedora, walked through the village of Chinkhota holding the hand of her 12-year-old daughter, Lourdes. Dozens of reporters looked on.
The 50-year-old pop star refused to answer questions about reports that she was in Malawi to adopt a four-year-old girl.
She said it was “amazing” to be back in the country where she runs a charity organization and from where she adopted her son David, 3, last year.
Madonna was expected to appear in court today to sign adoption papers.
A Malawian welfare official and another person involved in the adoption proceedings have said the girl Madonna is hoping to adopt is about four years old and her unmarried mother died soon after she was born.
The girl’s father is believed to be alive but no other details were available.
A U.S. government official has also confirmed that an adoption bid by Madonna, an American, was underway.
Madonna has faced harsh criticism for years over David’s adoption. Children’s advocacy groups accused her of wielding her immense wealth and influence to circumvent Malawian law requiring an 18- to 24-month assessment period before adoption.
But locals were not so condemning.
Wilson Kalibwanji, a resident of Chinkhota, said he said he would willingly place his own son in her care to ensure him a better life.
“We are poor people,” he said Sunday. “If a child’s mother dies, it is hard for the man to bring the child up.”