Amigos de las Americas


I'm considering doing Amigos de las Americas this coming summer.  If I do it, I will be living for 6-8 weeks in a rural area of a country in Central or South America.  Some areas (although it is unlikely to be placed in one) have no electricity and so keeping insulin cool could potentially be an issue.  Also, being low would be a huge problem because no one there would know how to use glucagon in an emergency...Does anyone have any experience with a program like this?



Hey Katie-

I've never done a structured program like what you're considering, but in my 20's I did backpack down the Baja coast of Mexico and camped on the beach with friends.  Trip took about a month.  Never had any problems with insulin not being cooled, though I'd recommend taking at least one extra bottle in case you run into problems. 

You don't really need glucagon as long as you test often and make sure to have glucose tabs or other quick sugar at all times.  During my trip I underestimated my insulin needs (especially at first) to counteract the heat and extra activity. 

Also, if  you're going between countries at all know that you'll need extra $$ to bribe border guards.  Have a note in Spanish (or Portuguese if you're going to Brazil) explaining your supplies are for medical need.  In my experience, the guards were pretty cool and didn't really care what you brought across the border as long as you gave them some money. 


I have some friends who went through Amigos and had an incredible, life-changing experience. They highly recommend it. They aren't diabetic, but talk a lot about how great their host families were, how easy it was to communicate with them despite not being fluent, etc. 

Sorry I don't have D-specific advice. I say, go for it! Take extra supplies, some frio packs, and have a phenomenal time!


That sounds totally exciting!  I haven't done anything like that, but I have traveled outside of the US.  I would say that you absolutely need to take glucagon with you (in reference to jennagrant's advice).  In a new, unstable environment, you have no idea what could happen, and like the old saying goes, "It's better to be safe than sorry". 

Take a lot of extra supplies with you.  At least twice what you think you will need.  Yes it's a pain to carry around, but man - if you have an emergency, or something malfunctions or goes bad, you'll be glad you have them with.

Good luck!