Society

Malia Obama Went On Secret Trip To South America (Photos)

| by Sheena Vasani

Malia Obama, President Barack Obama's eldest daughter, allegedly secretly spent nearly three months in late 2016 traveling through Peru and Bolivia.

Malia, 18, embarked on the South America trip through Colorado-based Where There Be Dragons organization, an initiative that offers young people to the opportunity to  “examine current political trends, social movements and environmental conservation efforts” in the two countries, The New York Times reports. 

But not even the organization she was reportedly traveling with knew who she was.

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Despite previous tense relationships between the two countries, President Obama called Bolivian President Evo Morales ahead of time to ensure the utmost secrecy -- something Morales agreed to.

“In spite of significant political differences with the Obama administration, he accepted the visit, understood the significance of the learning experience and respected Malia’s privacy,” explained Kathryn Ledebur, a Bolivia expert. “It’s really an important precedent.”

So secret was Malia's alleged trip that, while there was some extra security, fellow travelers thought it was for somebody else.

“There was a blond girl and we assumed she was the important one,” recalled Gregario Mamani, one of the guides.

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Only now are photos emerging of Malia on the Bolivia trip, posing alongside hikers near the Cordillera Real mountain region.

The guides praised the 18-year-old as “helpful and friendly," the New York Post reports.

“She was very humble, chatty, spoke Spanish very well," Mamani added. “She was mesmerized by the Bolivian landscape.”

Despite extra security, Malia reportedly received no other special treatment, and performed chores like everybody else.

Malia even lived with a family in Tiquipaya, a small Bolivian town, and was out for a meal in the area when Donald Trump was elected president. It's unclear if the family knew who she was, but it appears unlikely.

Malia went on the trip as part of a gap year before attending Harvard University in fall 2017. 

It's not clear what career paths Malia may be interested in at this point -- but there's one she is, at current, most certainly not interested in: politics.

“Neither of them intends to pursue a future in politics, and in that too, I think their mother’s influence shows,” the president said, Hollywood Life reports.

Sources: The New York Times, New York Post, Hollywood Life / Photo credit: Defense Imagery/Wikimedia Commons, www.bolivianmountainguides.com via New York Post

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