It’s not every day you open your windows and see this staring you in the face:

What an amazing view from my apartment!

What an amazing view from my apartment!

My first day in El Salvador was unlike anything I could have imagined.

The day started with going to the market, getting some mangos (of course), hiding the thousands of dollars I’ve been keeping all this time, paying the personal body guard, and most importantly – getting to know FUDEM. I got the grand tour – including all of the little offices, and thought “well, this has got to be the highlight of the day!”  There were many people waiting in line for glasses.  It is an incredible system.

Tonight we attended a gala dinner for the Gloria Kriete Foundation – a charity that specializes in working with big companies to get donations for local non profits. The work that these foundations do was amazing – incredible. The gala dinner was “who’s who” in El Salvador – CEOs of major airlines, ex-presidents, random men who escaped the country and suddenly appeared de la nada – everyone had a so much money in their pockets, they bought more pockets. But then it hit me while I was attending the dinner – that’s not what this was about. It wasn’t about the first class dinner, the awe-inspiring decorations, the lights, the show, the money or the fame – this event wasn’t about those who were there, but those who weren’t. These people had dedicated so much time and energy and talent to the benefit of their fellow men – to a new hope for El Salvador – an El Salvador free of gangs, with opportunity for the young, and rest for the old. It was about the countless homeless youth and abandoned elderly – and all the victims of gang violence, prostitution and rape in between. This event wasn’t for the rich and famous – it was for the silenced, and unheard. One of the award granters said “The word “love” is best conjugated in the present”.  FUDEM, like many of the other organizations, uses their political and economic influence for the betterment of their country. No matter how many American institutions involve themselves in these countries – there was nothing like seeing all of the most powerful people in the nation rise up to salute their flag and present their efforts in favor of their own fatherland. It was an incredible experience to be present at an event where so much good was being done in so little time. The greatest measure of patriotism is what you are willing to do for your fellow citizens.