CONWAY, Ark. (June 3, 2014) – Nine Hendrix students began
their summer traveling to Kosovo on a mission trip sponsored by the
Hendrix - Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics and Calling.
Students on the Kosovo trip included:
- Reed Brewer, a
junior from Little Rock, Ark.
- Sarah Eddington,
a sophomore from Benton, Ark.
- Hanna French, a
junior from Memphis, Tenn.
- Rachel Head, a
senior from Nashville, Tenn.
- Andrew LeMay, a
junior from Little Rock, Ark.
Moufarrej, a senior from Shreveport, La.
- Sarah Partee, a
freshman from Brentwood, Tenn.
Staines, a sophomore from Clarksville, M.D.
- Neelam Vyas, a
senior from Little Rock, Ark.
Through a partnership with International Orthodox
Christian Charities, students spent 10 days in Kosovo working to construct
a youth recreation center with local Kosovar villagers and helping
with infrastructure projects like drainage canals and freshwater wells. They
volunteered at Majka Devet Jugovića, a soup kitchen and the vineyards
at Visoki Dečani Monastery. Students also had the opportunity to visit
ancient Serbian Monasteries dating back to the 14th century.
were able to work side-by-side with our Serbian hosts, whether by weeding vegetable
fields, splitting wood, or picking up litter,” said Dr. Peter Gess, director
of the Hendrix Odyssey and international programs and politics professor, who
was the faculty advisor for the trip. Students were also accompanied by Shawn
Goicoechea, assistant director of human resources.
the activities were a large part of the trip, the social and cultural
interactions left a lasting impact.
“I’ve never known a Hendrix student to let a
language barrier stand in the way! This was most evident when the students
interacted with kindergarten students in the classroom or older students on the
basketball court,” Gess said. “It’s just very humanizing to interact community to
community. It teaches all of us that we have a lot in common.”
“We had a great experience working with the Serbian minority
communities in Kosovo. Many of the villages are self-described enclaves totally
surrounded by Albanian Kosovars. In many cases the Serbs are not able to find
work or trade goods in the larger Albanian communities,” Gess said. “It was
indeed eye-opening to see so much discrimination in modern-day Europe.”
“We had an unforgettable time touring some of the country's
14th century monasteries, tasting some of its local specialties, and
experiencing its strong sense of community,” said Neelam Vyas. “The most rewarding
part of the trip was forging relationships with the many people we met along
our journey. Whether it was the gardener we worked beside in the onion field or
the kindergarteners who we taught the hokey pokey to, the people we connected
with made our experience so rich.”
overcame the language barrier through “a lot of hand gestures and laughter,”
said Vyas. “These moments made me appreciate the people of Kosovo in a much
Established in 2008, the Miller Center for Vocation,
Ethics, and Calling provides resources and programming for Hendrix College
students, faculty and staff to explore the work and life to which they are
called, the vocation that will fulfill. For more information, visit http://www.hendrix.edu/millercenter/.
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in
engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year,
Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges
by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured
in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40
Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well
as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and
the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United
Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.