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Rome Reports

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Pope arrives in Madagascar

The pope bid farewell to a rainy Mozambique after an intense day.

He arrived at Maputo airport with a motorcade of vehicles, in which his was the simplest and smallest of all.

After just a few minutes inside the airport, Pope Francis, accompanied by the president of the country, went to the runway to board.

It was that moment when the pope decided to break protocol and greet airport workers, who could not believe what was happening.

A little after 1:00 p.m. Mozambique time, the pope's plane departed from Maputo.

It arrived in just over two hours, in sunny Antananarivo.

The president of Madagascar and his wife received Pope Francis at the foot of the runway. Afterward, the pope greeted authorities and bishops to the music of a lively choir.

He had a short private meeting with the president before beginning his tour in the popemobile.

It has been 30 years since the last pope visited Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. Around 80 percent of the population lives in poverty, with less than two dollars a day and half of its 25,000,000 residents suffer from chronic malnutrition. The sanitary system is very precarious and many suffer from diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy. 

Written: Ángeles Conde
Translated: Rachel Dobrzynski