Malia Obama was mysteriously absent from the public eye after a spate of scandalous headlines followed her last summer. The 18-year-old first daughter was nowhere to be seen for three months until recently, which led to speculative reports that she was in rehab.
Malia Obama, who’s taking a gap year before she begins college at Harvard University in fall 2017, has been in the news for attending wild parties. She was recently seen for the first time in months when she flew to Hawaii with her parents and again at President Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago.
According to the New York Times, Malia Obama went on a secret three-month trip to Bolivia and Peru from September through November 2016. She was with a group of other travelers in her adventures in South America and was reportedly eating pizza when Donald Trump won the election.
A photo of Malia Obama with her tour group was seen online this Thursday, indicating what she was up to those few months the news about her faded away.
Malia Obama went on a secret three-month trip to Bolivia when Trump clinched the presidency https://t.co/FUIkN70515
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) January 19, 2017
The first daughter traveled with a Colorado-based group called Where There Be Dragons and spent spent 83 days in the Andes mountains and the jungles of Peru and Bolivia.
According the website’s description, the group is about young people getting a chance to “examine current political trends, social movements and environmental conservation efforts” in Bolivia and Peru.
Gregorio Mamani helped to run a five-day hike through Bolivia on the excursion and said they were alerted in November that they’d be hosting an important American dignitary; they didn’t know it was Malia Obama. They thought a blonde girl on the trip was the “important” one, but they were mistaken.
Mamani said Malia Obama was treated the same as everyone else and there was virtually nothing that made her stand out other than the extra security detail. She took part in the chores as much as the other tourists — cooking, washing dishes, etc.
The organizer added that Malia was pleasant and interested in everything going on during her South American travels.
“She was very humble, chatty, spoke Spanish very well. She was mesmerized by the Bolivian landscape.”
Where did Malia Obama eat pizza when Donald Trump won the election? She was in the town of Tiquipaya when President Obama called Bolivian President Evo Morales requesting extra protection for his daughter be put in place.
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) January 9, 2017
President Obama revealed in his final press conference this week that his two daughters were both disappointed when Donald Trump won the election, but he wants others who feel the same way to learn something from Malia and Sasha.
“Man, my daughters are something. They just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day as they grow up. So these days, when we talk, we talk as parent to child but also we learn from them. I think it was really interesting to see how Malia and Sasha reacted [to Trump’s election]. They were disappointed.
“We’ve tried to teach them hope. The only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world. You get knocked down, you get up, you brush yourself off and you get back to work, and that tended to be their attitude. Neither of them intend to pursue a future of politics. In that, too, I think their mother’s influence shows. But both of them have grown up in an environment where I think they could not help but be patriotic, to love this country deeply, to see that it’s flawed but to see that they have responsibilities to fix it.”
Malia and Sasha Obama are ready to move out of the White House, the president said in Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview. As teenagers it’s been cumbersome having the Secret Service follow them everywhere they go.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]