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Rome Reports

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Pope says goodbye to Africa and begins trip back to Rome

The president of Madagascar waited for the pope at the airport entrance to thank him and accompany him to the base of the plane.

Both met in a terminal lounge. In the background you could hear the tunes of farewell songs, prepared by choirs.

During the brief meeting, the president's wife also gave the pope the final gift of the visit.

Then Pope Francis said goodbye to each of the bishops of Madagascar and some members of the country's government. Meanwhile, a choir sang a melody to send the pope off on his long journey.

Before entering the plane, the pope turned to say goodbye one last time. At 8:15 a.m., the Air Madagascar plane took off. 

The trip to Rome will be around 10 hours. The plane will fly over Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Greece before landing in Rome at around 7 p.m.