Ricky Amimo graduated from Union in 2016 with a B.S. in health science. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and grew up on the campus of the Adventist university where his parents worked as professors. He described it as “one big Adventist community. When I describe where I grew up, it might not fit your first picture of Kenya or Africa. My neighborhood actually looked like an ordinary Lincoln neighborhood with the exception of the snow in the winter.”
Ricky is now finishing his last year in the Physician’s Assistant Program on Union’s Campus.
Melissa Ratter: What was your motivation for coming to Union?
Ricky Amimo: Both my sisters went to Southwestern Adventist University and it was expected of me to go there as well. However, while I was in high school, Union sent recruiters who convinced me to come to the Midwest, rather than the warmer South. What sealed the deal was the fact that Union had a Physician Assistant Program. Medicine always interested me, and Union offered a potential career in medicine with a diverse and spiritual college experience. My family and I did not need much convincing after realizing that.
MR: What’s the biggest difference between home and here?
RA: There are many cultural differences between the community I lived in Kenya and my Lincoln community. Neither is superior to the other--they are both unique. One difference I noticed is a greater sense of interdependence in my community back home. People tend to be more open with their neighbors and friends about their struggles and are reliant on them for advice and assistance. I have noticed this interdependence at Union, but not so much in other circles.
MR: What do you miss the most?
RA: I miss the food the most: Chapati, mandazi, nyama choma, pilau, bhajias, samosas, etc. I also miss my family. I am still able to talk to them on the phone but there is something different about not being able to drive a couple hours to see them.
MR: Is there a specific event/festival you love about each of the cultures?
RA: Not a specific event, but I am fascinated by all the unofficial “national” days in the US. Like national donut day, or national pug day. As far as possible, I try to fully celebrate all these national days. For some reason I only celebrate the ones that have to do with food.
I love Kenyan weddings. Even within Kenya, there are so many different cultures that each wedding is unique. But for the most part they are all a huge deal and are hardly ever only a one-day affair. The food, the dancing, the music, the family, and did I say the food?
MR: Do you plan on returning home after you graduate from the PA program?
RA: I plan on working in the US for some time before heading back to Kenya. I would like to get some experience under my belt before I go back home and share my skills. However, I am open to whatever God has in store for me. I know that there are many other places in need of healthcare ministry.
MR: What advice do you have for graduating seniors?
RA: It is easy to think that once you get your diploma that you are set and fully equipped to handle what life has for you but that is hardly ever true. Do not be afraid to admit that you do not know something. Keep learning and trust that God will fill you with the knowledge you need to do his work.
Melissa Ratter is a senior studying language arts education.