CHRISTINA Aguilera says that, although she went to Rwanda to help others, she ended up being helped.
The 32-year-old singer visited the African nation in June for a hunger relief effort. She said the experience helped her ground herself.
"It came at a time in my life when I really needed to be far removed from anything to do with work or being on camera," the Grammy winner said.
"It came at a time in my life when I needed to sort of experience what's going on beyond entertainment."
Aguilera has been a spokesperson for Yum! Brands' World Hunger Relief effort since 2009, and has also travelled to Haiti and Guatemala.
She said being a mother – her son Max is five – made her more empathetic with those suffering from hunger around the world.
"It's so sad to think there's nothing that sets any of us apart," she said.
"And when you go into the field, you really see that and feel that we're all one and the same, it's just we're born under different circumstances, and it's sad and I don't understand why, but I feel what I feel and I did what I can."
On her Rwanda trip, she served food to children and visited refugee camps, which she called "one of the most difficult moments".
"They had to escape everything and everybody they knew and loved, and it's just a lot to really open yourself up and feel all that," she said, on the brink of tears.
"And you just want to help out in whatever way that you can, and obviously I get emotional about it when talking about it, but I think it's important to feel those things."
Yum!, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, said its World Hunger Relief effort has raised nearly $150m (€112m) for the UN World Food Programme and other organisations since its launch in 2007.