From the day I found out that I would be traveling to Los Angeles to represent the youth of my country, I thought I was dreaming and cried spontaneously out of pure joy. I never imagined something so amazing, and it filled me with enthusiasm to be the voice of my community, my country, and of course, myself.
Everything seemed overwhelming because of all the things we had to do to prepare for our trip. We had a lot of errands to do in a distant city. Even though all that work was tiring, my dream was closer and closer to coming true, which was a beautiful reality.
The day of the trip to Los Angeles, I was very nervous but I didn't let my emotions control me. Just getting to the airport produced in me a great excitement that filled my heart with joy because this kind of opportunity doesn’t come up every day, and this one was a unique one for me. Nobody could imagine everything that I felt when I heard that we were boarding the plane. That was amazing, since it was my first time flying to go abroad. I did not know what was going to happen. Everything I knew I had seen in the movies. I felt butterflies in my stomach being on the plane. Even though the trip was long and tiring, it was worth it. From the beginning, I loved the architecture and all those beautiful lights that made L.A. unique and special.
On Sunday, Glamour Magazine sponsored a trip to Universal Studios, which was my favorite part since I learned about the culture and experienced the advanced technology and 3D presentations that left me astonished and totally exited. I have to mention all the fun that I had on the park rides. It was also the first time that I ate salmon and it was delicious. In my country it is very expensive, so only people from high classes can afford it. I felt like a famous person from my country.
The Glamour event was incredible, with a red carpet and a lot of cameras. The time we spent on stage representing the Girl Project was great! The best experience I had was listening to the testimonials given by the women from the event because they taught us great life lessons.
On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to meet Plan staff and supporters from the U.S. We talked about many subjects that are important in our country. It is crucial to talk about challenges in order to change the reality in which we live. At night, we went to a Hollywood Film Festival event, where videos and short films were presented. They touched my heart because of the messages that were being transmitted. We met famous movie stars who support Plan. We had the opportunity to tell them about the excellent work that Plan does in many countries and also thank them for being there and for their great support, which makes a huge impact.
The next day, we went to a company called Lovesick, a Plan corporate partner, where they surprised us with a spectacular welcome and delicious food that I would never forget. Lovesick makes plus-size clothes for women that normally wouldn’t be found in other stores. They took us to meet and talk with their employees all over the company. Then, I joined Daniela from Guatemala to give a speech about the reality in our countries and the work that Plan does to help fight barriers and promote education.
Later, we had a meeting in the house of Plan ambassador Marcia Cross, where, together with Daniela, we had the opportunity to speak with Plan donors about the work carried out every day in our countries and its importance for us and young girls. Without a doubt, this was my favorite part of the trip because I love to talk and I had the opportunity to say everything I think about education while thanking Plan and each donor. Without them, there would be no opportunities to continue breaking barriers and improving education all over the world. This experience was unforgettable.
This trip was like a dream come true. It was wonderful because a girl like me almost never has these kinds of opportunities. I have more than infinite thanks to Plan International, donors, Glamour, and all of the people who made this great dream come true.
So, I ask you to keep moving forward, as your help is the light of hope for many children and adolescents. Do not doubt that you can change many lives. Mine is a clear example because on this trip I learned many things, such as how it is good to study for your future, your country, and the whole world. I discovered virtues that I didn’t know about myself because I had the opportunity to realize how important it is to have goals and to know that if you fight for them you can fulfill them.
This fills me with courage because my goal is to be a professor. I know that I have to start from the bottom and for that reason I am determined to continue day by day to finish my studies. Thanks to this trip and all of the incredible people I met, I was able to broaden my thinking. Today I consider myself an open-minded girl who will never abandon her dreams and will fight for the good of all people. All of these experiences will help me for my present and future, because they have been incredible life lessons and opportunities to grow.
Lastly, let’s not forget that all young people can be great leaders and caretakers of a better world. I [want to tell] all youth to never say “I can’t” because it depends on you and the effort that you put into accomplishing the things that you love and find important to make the world a better place. Fight for education, fight for your goals, fight for your dreams. Where ever you are, think big and push yourself to change the world.
This was the best experience of my life and I will never forget it.