Two hundred and forty hours. Fourteen thousand four hundred minutes. Eight hundred sixty-four thousand seconds.  When written out it may seem like an eternity. If you take a closer look it’s really only ten days. A third of a month and only 0.02739 % of a year.  A little more than nothing than a blip on the radar that is our life. This ten-day blip was especially special.

Along with nine other people I made a trek to the community of El Espino, El Salvador. As a group we were immediately thrust and welcomed into the community with open arms. The moment we stepped off the micro we were showered with an endless line of hugs and smiles. One word jumped to the front of my mind. Unconditional. These Salvadoran people had an unconditional love for these ten American strangers.  After being welcomed into their home and being declared the newest member of their family I realized that they didn’t care what mistakes I made in the past. They were just happy to have a new brother.

The entire community is set on fire with a desire and passion for education. Knowing that one day they can become the focal point of change in El Salvador. Witnessing that passion firsthand was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It really prompted me to take a moment and think about how much of a shame it would be to not take some of that fire and share it with our own communities. I’m pretty sure it was Gandhi who said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This small community in the middle of the small country of El Salvador has taken those words to heart and are working together to be that change.

All week we heard that the scholarship students look up to us as delegates for The Foundation of Cultural Exchange. Those scholarship students will never really know how much we look up to them. The challenges they go through each and everyday in order to be that change they so desire to see is nothing short of amazing. In writing this reflection I am sitting here wishing that everyone I know could experience that unconditional love and passion for life that the people of El Espino shared with me. Then it dawned on me that they can. I can live my life happily and show my passions and exhibit an unconditional love for all and be that change I wish to see. I may be a blip on the radar and mean absolutely nothing to El Espino when this is all said and done, but El Espino will always be a huge blip on my radar and will always have a special place in my heart.