Memory from Erica

One of my fondest encounters with Ben happened last January when he and Peter came to visit me in Panama on their way through Latin America.

Ben called my host family’s house at 8:00 am and asked for me in his best Spanglish, I assume. My host mom came into my room a little disoriented and said I had gotten a call from Miami. “Miami,” I thought. “Who could be calling me from Miami?”

I answered the phone and lo and behold it was Ben Eder calling from a payphone in downtown Panama City! I was ecstatic! My Panamanian friend and I went to meet them at their hotel in one of the grungier parts of town. There they were, Ben and Peter, sitting on the steps of the horribly decorated lobby looking happy , healthy and ready for their next adventure.

We walked around town, chatting in Spanglish, mostly. The boys told me about their prior travels and their future plans. I was in awe of what they had done and how they managed to survive it all. Perhaps the day with me was the most mundane of all their days in Latin America, but I enjoyed reconnecting with old friends. The last time I saw them in Panama was at my boyfriend’s house drinking Panamanian licor and talking about life in their ever improving Spanish. I left the party early, but found out later that Ben and Peter had stayed until 4)00 a.m. chatting with my friends. I never knew what they talked about that night, but I clearly remember how delighted my boyfriend was to have met Ben. He felt like he had made a friend, if only for one day.