I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.
Rosalia de Castro
It was her first trip to Panama by herself since she’s lived here. She made it through customs without a hitch. After a $20 taxi, she finally made it to her prepaid hostel at 3 AM- A welcome feeling indeed.
The next day, she got dressed and went out to explore her new surroundings with camera in hand, prepared to take pictures in a light that only she can see.
I get a phone call from a frantic girl, an uneasy feeling swept over her. She didn’t feel like exploring any more. She got swindled her last $40 that she was using to get back home and to eat with.
She had some friends that lived by the border; she was going to take a bus there. I let her know, I would wire her some cash. That was the last time I heard from her. For 18 hours. Silence. No social media posts. Nothing.
At first, I was just concerned. Maybe she was just in an area with no signal. As the hours passed, my mama sense started really kicking in. Later that evening, I sent her a text ‘Please let me know you are safe’
As I paced the floor, I did prayers and mantras all through the night, praying for her protection- the visions that filled my head.
What if this person that swindled her cash was a human trafficker and she took the bait. What if this was the last time, I was ever going to hear or see her ever again? What if she was going to be just another statistic of the people that go missing each and every day?
At one point, during the night, I message her stepmom to see if her father heard from her.
As soon as it was light again, I made myself a cup of coffee and was getting ready to make a game plan to try to locate her. Do I call the local police? Do I call the Embassy? Does she have to be missing for a certain amount of time before they do anything?
Am I completely overreacting? Maybe she is safe with her friends and is just in a remote area with no signal.
But, I couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong.
At 7:30 AM, I receive a text. ‘Mom I am okay, I know you were worried.’ ‘I met a nice lady and she took me in and fed me.’
‘I feel like this is a Liam Neeson movie, what happened? I was so scared.’ ‘I know you were worried mom’
I soon saw beautiful pics of her and breathtaking landscapes once again. The next day, she was safely home in Ciudad Cortés, Puntarenas.
I could finally rest.
I still don’t know what happened during those 18 hours of silence……
I had a dream, she was a little girl going on her first plane ride. Her, wanting to be a big girl, did it all by herself. Somewhere between the gate and the tarmac, she got on the wrong plane. After days of her being missing, I see this girl climbing down from a mountain. Tear streaks running down the dirt on her cheeks. She runs to me, and we just hold each other and cry.
With Hugs and Hope