The inexplicable love and tenderness of the Salvadoran people has changed my entire life. Even though most people who read this will not understand why these people mean so much to me, I can honestly tell them that for me, these people are the missing half of me; they are the fire blazing in my heart, full of pure and untainted love.

Like many delegates, I came to El Salvador the first time thinking that the Salvadoran people were missing something that I could help them fix, but in reality, I was the one who was missing something. I was the one who needed to be helped. After living among these people, I have learned more about true unconditional love and family than I could have ever taught the Salvadoran people. I have opened my heart up to receive and accept the love of others; and I learned not to judge a person by their appearance, but by their heart and not to judge a country by its poverty, but by its people.

I know that my heart will always be half in America and half in El Salvador. I have struggled to accept the immense amount of love they have bestowed upon me and with why I was given this incredible opportunity. I struggle every day to find a way to give back to the community that has given me much more than I could ever give them. Being back among these people makes me realize that I have the chance to help them. I can do something, and even if in the big picture it is insignificant, it is something.

And most of all, today I realized something: I have so many people who understand and support me that I will never be alone on this journey… I mean how can you be alone when you have 27 brothers and sister walking by your side?