In four short weeks we will embark on a journey to El Espino, a trip that will change our lives forever. Even though we are yet to go, I have learned many lessons in preparation for this adventure. First, I have seen the passionate and giving nature of those around me. I am eternally grateful to my friends and family who have helped me fundraise the money to make this trip possible. They have been more generous than I could have ever imagined. Since we’re on the topic, thank you for your interest in this experience. If it were not for the people involved with the Foundation for Cultural Exchange, none of this would be possible for the group or incredibly deserving people of El Espino.

I am flooded with feelings when I think about how soon we will venture off on this new experience. Anna, Hunter, and the entire group have been preparing us weekly on the culture, climate, and conditions to expect in El Salvador. However, I know there are some things they cannot put into words—and that is what the experience is going to be like. I am only told about the immense love and gratitude I will feel going down there (feelings on both ends). I could not be more thankful to meet the scholarship students, and learn all about their lives. They inspire me to work hard and appreciate life—another lesson already blossoming inside me in anticipation of the trip.

I hear stories of how beautiful El Salvador is, and also stories of how tragedy has struck so many in their country. It makes my heart ache for their struggles, yet I am eager to witness their beauty. There is tragedy in all countries just as there is splendor. We know that there is risk involved in going. However, this risk is one that needs to be taken (might I add we trust Anna’s judgment and experiences there to keep us safe). I whole-heartedly believe that going to El Espino is an experience I am meant to have in order to grow and become a better person.

It is truly an honor and a privilege to be adventuring to El Salvador. I hope to continue the spiritual and personal growth before, during, and long after this trip. I know that the people of El Espino will give me so much more than I could ever give them. Hopefully, one day I can repay them for their kindness and love. I am so excited to meet my family, and converse with them in Spanish. It is truly special that they will host me in their homes for an entire week. When I think of such selfless people it gives me faith. I hope that the lessons I learn on this journey can be translated into my passions back home, for the rest of my life.

I look forward to the life changing experiences and long lasting friendships to come. Thank you for your help, love, prayers, and support. Thank you for making this experience possible.

Juntos podemos hacer el mundo mejor / Together we can make the world a better place