As much as I love going different places in the world, I generally hate traveling. Long lines, close quarters with strangers, and unnecessary delays. I thought yesterday would be different, and I was off to a good start getting my bag checked and getting to the gate within fifteen minutes, but of course things are never that simple. I had plenty of time to sit down and eat at Ruby Tuesday's and take notes in my journal as I thought about the possibilities of my interviews. Once I arrived in Miami I was able to sit down at the Corona restaurant and have a beer and quesadilla while I waited for my flight. Once I finished eating I got up to continue to my gate, only to see on the boards that my flight was delayed. Only twenty minutes, but since things go slowly anyway I knew it would be longer.
About 45 minutes after we were supposed to take off we finally boarded. As I sat down the person sitting down next to me soon followed. He was about my age but clearly religious folk. I got a little bit nervous since I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum (he's going down to convert Honduras, I believe live and let live). Throughout the flight we got to talking and he seemed like an interesting guy, but I couldn't help but start talking about religion. He's a mormon missionary, I'm a humanist. Opposite ends of the spectrum. He's trying to spread the word of Joseph Smith, I prefer to focus on the problems at hand. I suppose that since I'm not preoccupied with any sort of after life, I feel the more urgent problems are the things we encounter day to day. No matter though, we had interesting discussion, and though he thought he was right, and I thought he was a bit delusional we ended on good terms. Except when we said good bye. Normally when I say good bye to someone I give them a hug. Even someone I have just met. That to me is an appropriate way to say bye to someone you spent 4+ hours talking to. Needless to say, I went for a hug, he freaked out and tried to shake my hand and it was superrrrrrr awkward.
I guess I haven't met enough Mormons?
Anyway, I found Jenny and Paula with little trouble and we came back to the hotel to unpack. Paula and I just sat in the hotel lobby catching up. This morning we woke up and had our breakfast bars, but also mooched a little bit off the Elon group that is here so that we could get a little free breakfast. It worked, awesome! The Elon group decided to go to the beach, and thought they were going to be bringing some of the boys with them, but Kevin didn't get a bus rented so the boys couldn't go. I wanted to be where the boys were so Paula and I stayed back and just hung out at the foundation instead of going to the beach.
It was amazing to get out of Kevin's truck and have the boys do a double take and basically say "Blondie, what are you doing here??" Made my heart swell to see all my favorite guys again. Eduardo, who I have been close with since the beginning of the first trip ran over and gave me a huge hug and said he was happy to see me (pictured left with Wilson). Manuel looked me and said, well..... did you get the cameras for the course or what?? (I had originally pitched the idea to him when I first had it). Porfirio looked at me, looked away, then looked back and his eyes totally lit up as he realized I wasn't just another volunteer. And all the little guys that I had photographed before were SO excited to see their pictures.
I tried to start talking about the photo course and the film, and some kids won't talk to me about the film but all seem realllly interested in doing the course. I will need to figure out what their schedules are like so that I can plan accordingly. One of the boys that I love, who almost made the mistake of running a few years ago (but now is doing really well on scholarship in a private school) agreed to tell me his whole story on video even though "its long, and really really sad". He lived on the street for three years addicted to drugs and was basically an entirely different person. We have an appointment for tomorrow at 3 to start the interview. I'm nervous and extremely excited. I think the next three weeks are going to be an emotional roller coaster. But at least I know that I'm going to be back in three and a half months when its all over.