“We have such a wealth of nationalities, we didn’t want to keep it to ourselves,” says Karine Sanchez, event organizer.”
by Andrew Hendrickson and Rachel Perry
This year the entire community was invited to Hartland’s third annual Culture Day event showcasing our diverse student body from 28 countries. Over 300 doors were knocked on, posters were left in public places, and many personal invitations were given. Ultimately, about 80 guests, including many from the Mennonite community, came from the surrounding counties and as far as Washington, DC.
“The first person I spoke to asked, ‘Do you know where I could get Nigerian food?’ We started to talk, and she told me she’s here with her family for the first time, and they love it,” shares Nigerian midwifery student Victoria Adeyeye. They ended up taking a picture together at the event’s photo booth.
All told, a variety of vegan dishes and desserts were served representing 13 countries from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. The Asian food was especially popular. While guests ate, students gave musical and slideshow presentations about missionary work in their countries.
“It was great, the food was amazing. I wish we could have it every day,” laughs publications production student Chris Chung, who personally invited several guests. “A lot of people don’t know who we are and what we stand for. This event offers good potential for Hartland to be a blessing and a shining light in the community.”
“I’ve been living in Culpeper for 16 years, and my parents have been living here for 26 years, but this is the first time I’ve heard about Hartland,” remarks Don Haight Jr, a Culpeper resident invited by Chris. Don enjoyed the event, the campus, and the people so much that he decided he wanted to learn more, especially about Hartland’s natural farm. He returned a couple weeks later for a campus tour and lunch in the cafeteria.
“It was fantastic,” said Don after the tour. “I learned a lot, and I realized I still have a lot to learn. Now I’m trying to find a way to promote Hartland, so people in the area will know about it and take advantage of the services and products that you have here.”
We praise the Lord for using Culture Day to be a light in the community, and we look forward to an even bigger blessing next year!