Pop superstar Christina Aguilera was given the opportunity to connect with her paternal roots during a recent humanitarian trip to Ecuador.
The Beautiful singer has been working as a volunteer global spokesperson for Yum! Brands' World Hunger Relief since 2009 and she previously met with children in need in countries like Rwanda, Haiti and Guatemala.
Last week (ends25Sep15), she headed to South America to visit disadvantaged families and deliver much-needed school meals, and the mother-of-two admits she was especially touched by those she met in her once-estranged dad Fausto Xavier Aguilera's native country.
"This particular trip was sort of extra-special for me because it is my blood and heritage," Christina tells The Associated Press. "My father was born in Ecuador and my grandfather was born in Quito, which is the city I stayed in. And we would drive out in the fields, which were hours away by car and into the farmland and sort of refugee areas where people are struggling...
"I went into the fields and got to meet the women and children there who are really trying to survive. I definitely had always wanted to go visit where my dad comes from, the culture, you know, not having sort of a consistent relationship at all in my life with him and not really knowing him as I've gotten older through the years as well. You know, there's a history there. But, you know, it is a part of my blood and a part of my heritage and a part of my people. And I would look at the faces and I would sort of... sometimes feel like I saw a resemblance. I think it's important and I think it's good to know where you come from and sort of get to know your roots."
"It felt that much better to me that I was in a place that I felt so connected to and was able to give back to," she adds.
During the visit, Christina filmed a public service announcement for the World Hunger Relief initiative, which is due to air in in October (15).
The campaign has raised $600 million to aid charities like the United Nations' World Food Program in the eight years since its launch.