Written by Emma Burger
“I just think everyone should travel if they are able. It opens your mind beyond what you usually experience,” says Evelyn Hershey, resident of Garden Spot Village since August 2019. Evie holds a very special place in her heart for Kenya and was delighted to have the opportunity to visit Nairobi with Garden Spot Village.
Ever since she visited Kenya for the first time in June 2015, her love for the country has only grown. “I just love the music, the colors, the people, everything,” comments Evie. After visiting in 2017, 2018, 2019 and January 2020, she was unfortunately unable to travel for a bit due to COVID-19. This trip was the first time she was able to return since 2020.
In the past, Evie had focused on other aspects, such as peer mediation, medicine and textiles; however, this trip was focused on education. While in Nairobi, Evie and the group visited the Pangani Center (a school run by Missions of Hope International, or MOHI), two residential high schools and a vocational school, so they were immersed in the different forms of education.
While visiting the Pangani Center, they were asked to create a mural for the school. Evie, a retired art teacher, welcomed the opportunity. Using the help of the children, and the creative minds of both Evie and Karyn Nancarvis, they created a gorgeous mural on canvas. The mural was painted on a canvas because they wanted the art piece to be moveable. Using blue and green (the school colors) as the background, each child placed their handprint onto the canvas. After it had dried, they were asked to stand in front of the mural and spell out MOHI with their bodies. The children then painted the silhouettes black which finished the mural. “It was such an amazing experience,” comments Evie.
After the rest of the Garden Spot Village group had gone home, Evie stayed an additional 5 days. She and her daughter stayed at Kitengela Glass Art community. She connected with some of her friends she had met on prior trips to Kenya.
Evie has always loved her trips to Kenya, and this time was no different. She has been drawn to Kenya ever since her first visit, and she will continue to return in the future. Evie explained, “The connection I have to Kenya is God-given, I can’t really explain it. It just pulls me to it.”
If you would like to learn more about Evie’s experiences, please check out Art with Purpose.