I’m going to start this blog off by saying there were three different times, in three different countries during this two week tour of Latin America when I said: “This is not how I want to die”. However, this trip was nothing short of EPIC.
It all started in Dominican Republic:
The last 24 hours here I got really sick and couldn’t stop throwing up (Time #1 on the bathroom floor dying), so we then flew to Puerto Rico where I spent the next 7 hours in the hospital (Time #2). After 4 IVs and some nice drugs I felt fantastic. I had a high fever so it is all a little fuzzy and I could not understand Puerto Rican spanish so I am not sure exactly what was going on or what was wrong with me.
But this aside, it was the best trip ever. We attended the Puerto Rican open golf tournament and our hotel was right on the beach. Beautiful. The last night there we went to the farm of the guy doing our security. This might have been my favorite night…..EVER. It was very cool because Ximena got to live in my world for a night….and it was incredibly entertaining:
In order for me to do a how-to-do makeup video with her (which she had been begging me the whole trip) I told her she had to be a little more “adventurous”. For instance, I got her to jump into a freezing cold pool first thing in the morning AND feed a horse, and in return, she made me a little more of a beauty queen….which she enjoyed WAY too much. Hopefully this footage will never be seen.
We then flew to Panama where we hit some sort of storm cloud and the plane did a slight free fall (Time #3). Panama was absolutely amazing. You have city and beach side by side, and people are incredible. We worked with Aid for Aids which was a life changing experience for me and I really feel like we made a difference being there. I would LOVE to go back and work with some of the kids we got to work with.
I found out the second to last day that I would be leaving for Thailand in 3 days -so I started editing every free second I had. The other intern, Derek, edited this video since I was in Thailand:
At first, seeing how he edited this together, it was so difficult to watch, and I think part of the reason, at least subconsciously, I gave him Panama to edit instead of the other countries was because I couldn’t re-watch this footage after living through it. Also, I was morally torn filming some of the things I did. Half way through I said, “I can’t film this anymore and put the camera away and played with the kids. Like Ximena said, it was the hardest place we had ever been to. This hospital was barn-like and kids were in cages without parents. The worst part was not being able to do anything about it.
But the people that worked for Aid for Aids were saints. They’re not only spreading awareness across Panama and the rest of Latin America, but dedicating their lives to saving these kids. They were the most sincere people I have met since traveling with MUO and working with them gave me a new appreciation for life and positive outlook on people in general.
The second to last day there we got to visit some of the kids in the Aid for Aids program – my favorite day of the entire trip.
We missed our flight back and had to stay in Panama another day (oh darn 🙂 ). It was cool to have a day without cameras where we could just hang out and be normal. I am now in Thailand and will have an updated blog and video as soon as I get back.