I had chosen to study Chiropractic long before my UWC experience. But the way I practice is affected by that experience even now.
Musimbi Ondeko (PC 75-77) is now a successful chiropractor in Kenya, as well as the dynamic Chair of the Kenyan National Committee.
“I was one of the first students to go to a United World College through selection by the Kenyan National Committee,” says Musimbi. “The National Committee had written to various school heads requesting them to nominate a student for the UWC interview. My Headmistress nominated me! I think she wanted to get rid of me!”
Asked to describe her time at Pearson, Musimbi doesn’t hesitate. “It was a wonderful time,” she says. “I had been reading about the redwoods at school, and so I was already interested in Canada. We were part of the Pioneer years at the College, so it was incredibly exciting. At that time, about 50 countries were represented by students, which was a good balance. I made friends for life there.”
After graduating from Pearson, Musimbi went on to college in South Carolina to study Chiropractic. “The philosophy and science made sense to me, and the college in South Carolina had an excellent course. But going from Pearson to South Carolina was a challenge! Race was still an issue there. I continued to be an ‘international person’ – and it was an opportunity to put what I’d learnt at Pearson into practice – but there were some difficult situations. I think I managed to change a few minds though!”
Finding that she loved the work, Musimbi qualified as a Doctor of Chiropractic, and returned to Kenya to work for the National Hospital. “It’s an extremely rewarding job,” she says. “Chiropractic involves the restoration of body functions, and it’s a real challenge. I look at why people feel pain, and I work to transform their physical lives. It’s getting the lame to walk, really.”
After three years at the National Hospital, Musimbi branched out into private practice. “The Kenyan National system doesn’t really understand Chiropractic, even now, and at that time it was really unusual. Moving into private practice meant I had a lot more freedom, and could reach and help many more people".
“I had chosen to study Chiropractic long before my UWC experience. But the way I practice is affected by that experience even now. UWC brings the world into microcosm, and it teaches you to think about things from a bigger, more global, perspective. And if you think that way, you do things differently too. Kenya is a very diverse country, with many different religious and ethnic groups. But I treat a person as a person – I don’t think about their tribe, or where they come from, whether within Kenya or outside".
Apart from her Chiropractic work, Musimbi has also devoted more than twenty years to supporting the Kenyan National Committee, of which she is now Chair.
“Working with the Committee is always a very rewarding experience. My time at Pearson College opened up so much in my mind, and so I really wanted to help others have that same experience. Being invited to serve on the UWC International Board was an honour and it has been a fascinating six years; the cherry on top of my UWC experience.”