CARRIBEAN 2002





On March 21st, 10 members of Cheerleaders of America, were anxious to begin our first tour.  Our
trip would last 18 days, and we could have never imagined how incredible of an experience it was
going to be.
After a long day of traveling, we arrived in San Juan around 1:15 A.M.  The time did not bother
us, as we were full of excitement.  As soon as we arrived and collected our luggage, we were off to
the Naval Station, Roosevelt Roads.  
Although we were nervous about our first performance for the families and service men, we were
so excited that all so many people came out to watch our performance.  The scenic view of the
Caribbean Sea from our stage at All Hands Beach helped calm our nerves.  We were so honored
that they selected us to perform for them at their yearly picnic.
While staying at Roosevelt Roads, were had the awesome opportunity to meet some of the sons
and daughters of our service men and women stationed abroad.  It was their football playoff
season, and we went the Jaguar's practice session to wish them good luck and provide them with
words of encouragement.  The next day was the big game and we made a surprise visit just before
the beginning of the game.  They were so appreciative that we truly wanted to stay for the game,
however, we were on a schedule.  The team all signed one of their jerseys to give to us as a
momento.  It is framed and will hang in the new headquarters as soon as construction is complete.
On our way to Borinquen, we had an adventure within our adventure.  Our transportation broke
down, and we were stranded on the side of the road until our new van arrived.  Standing outside
under the hot Puerto Rican sun, we had a glimpse of what it was like to live in the hot, tropical
conditions our military personnel live in.  
We continued to make new acquaintances during our shows at the Community Center, the
Fitness Center of Fort Buchanan and the Borinquen Gym.
As if we weren't having an incredible time visiting and performing for our service men and
women, our hosts, MWR, (Moral, Welfare and Recreation), took the time to ensure we would get
to enjoy some of the local activities and flavor Puerto Rico had to offer.  We were treated to a day
at the beach and a tour of the Barcardi Rum Factory.
Although we were sad to leave our friends from Puerto Rico, we were anxious to meet our troops
stationed in Honduras.  The living conditions of the Honduran people were different than what
we, as American's are accustomed to.   It made us appreciate even more the sacrifices our military
personnel make just so we can live the lifestyle we all enjoy in America.
We arrived at the base, Soto Cano.  While there, we got our first taste of military living.  We
stayed in "Hooches" and ate each meal in the "Chow Hall".  We enjoyed seeing first hand how the
troops lived.  While at the base, we were given a tour of the aircraft there, such as the Blackhawk
and the Chinook. One of the highlights of our stay on the base was watching a promotion
ceremony.
Our nights were filled with performances at the "Oasis". The daytime allowed us some time to see
the sites of Honduras, like boating at the El Lago de Yojoa, Some of the girls even participated in
P.T.! However, one of the most rewarding experiences was when we were invited to go to a local
orphanage and visit with the children.  The kids were so excited to see us, and were so proud of
the garden they were growing and the animals they were raising.  They gleamed as they took us
around to see them.  Although, we did have a language barrier, we managed to work together to
get through it.  We were moved to learn that troops volunteered their time and efforts on a
weekly basis for the children of this and other orphanages.  Our respect and admiration for our
troops continue to grow, as we learn how much more they give, not only to us Americans, but
also to others.
After a day of traveling, we arrived in Cuba.  During our half hour pontoon boat ride, we passed
the house that was used in the filming of "A Few Good Men".  We were surprised at how clear
and blue the water was.
Our first stop was to Camp Alpha, where the troops were building housing for the MP.  The
troops took a break from their 12-hour shift in the hot sun, to visit, do autographs, and take
photos.  
Our next stop was a once and a lifetime experience.  We were taken to an overview of Camp X
Ray.  It is at Camp X Ray that the Taliban Prisoners are being held.  Our MWR representative
told us of the conditions the prisoners held and how grueling of a job it is for our troops to police
the prisoners.  It was this site that reminded all of us, just how real a war can be.  And again, we
were moved at the sacrifices our military men and woman make.
Our last performance of the trip was at Lycem Theater.  The outdoor stadium was packed.  It was
an awesome site!  After the show, we signed posters and the troops told us how much they
enjoyed the show.  One of the most touching moments of the whole trip was when one of the
military personnel told us thanks followed by “This is the most fun these troops have had since
before September 11th.”  Before we had to say goodbye to everyone stationed at GTMO, we had
dinner with some of the troops, and learned what their daily life was like.
Upon arriving home, all of us reflected on how lucky we are to be invited into the daily lives of
our military men and women.  To see first hand, how much these men and woman give to us and
our wonderful country, is an incredible experience.  After meeting our great military men and
woman, it confirmed just how proud we are of them and how proud we are to be American.