Christina Aguilera has mentioned in past interviews that she has no real relationship with her father, but that hasn’t deterred the Beautiful and Dirty singer from embracing and her acknowledging her Latino heritage.
Last week, the four-time Grammy singer ventured to Ecuador—her father’s native country—to take part in relief effort trips.
“It felt much better to me that I was in a place that I felt so connected to and was able to give back to,” said Aguilera, 34, who acts as a global spokesperson for Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief and has visited other countries like Haiti and Guatemala to provide aide.
Traveling to Quito, Aguilera then traveled by car into the nearby countryside and farmland visiting some of the country’s impoverished areas.
“This was a really interesting and raw way to go about it. It wasn’t like I vacationed there in one of the more beautiful spots such as Galapagos Islands or things like that. I went into the fields and got to meet the women and children there who are really trying to survive,” the singer describes, talking about immersion into the livelihood of the Ecuadorian people she was able to visit.
According to a volunteer spokesperson for the Yum! Brands’ effort, prior to the trip Aguilera was presented with a list of places in-which she could choose from. Upon that list was Ecuador. The selection of the country isn’t all too shocking, but is quite interesting since Aguilera did select a place closely associated to her father in-which she is estranged from.
“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,” she explains, wanting a deeper connection to her fellow Ecuadorans.
During the recent trip, Aguilera also visited schools and served lunch to children who endured a long journey in order to obtain an education.
“It takes these kids 45 minutes walking by themselves, alone, up a hill,” she said, “It’s really hard for these kids and I couldn’t wait to come back and tell my own kids these stories to … better appreciate what they have,” the mother of two said. “These kids, they just were the most well-mannered, sweet-natured, little kids.”
As a spokeswoman, Aguilera has also filmed a public service announcement that will be released next month hoping to raise hunger awareness. So far, Yum! Brands Inc., the parent company of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC, in its eights as a World Hunger Relief initiative has raised an estimated $600 million in cash and food for the United Nations’ World Food Programme and other organizations.