In August of 2022, Kenneth Kanuma was living in his home country, the “DRC” (Democratic Republic of Congo). Kenneth is the oldest of five kids and lives in Goma. After doing a little research, I discovered that Goma is one of the fastest growing cities in the DRC. It has many attractions and a rich history. Kenneth has two brothers and two sisters. When you see Kenneth at Oxford, you would probably agree that he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. After sitting down and speaking with him, I learned a little bit more about his life back home, and where that humble, kind personality came from.
Growing up, Kenneth was always a hard worker. He went to a private school with about 2000 students, and he would drive to school every day. He spent time playing soccer and basketball for fun at recess, like any other kid, and he had a pretty typical life at school. I then learned that once Kenneth was in 8th grade, he would drive to school across the border into Rwanda every day. “You drove to another country for school?” I asked. He laughed at my reaction, because that thought would seem unreal to anyone.
Last fall, his family got a call from his aunt. I learned that Kenneth and fellow Oxford student Noe are cousins! Kenneth was told about Oxford by his aunt, and he immediately wanted to come and study in the U.S. It was very difficult, however, to get over here. Kenneth was the first person in his family to come here, and it almost did not happen. He had to go to Zambia to get his visa and live with his uncle. After his interview, he got no immediate answer and the government said that they would contact him. He was extremely worried, praying to God every day that he would be granted his visa and allowed to pursue his education in the U.S. A couple of weeks later, his prayers were answered and he got the visa! He spent his final day at home, and then took off for the U.S.
When Kenneth arrived in our country, he was very confused and did not understand much of what was going on. He had started practicing English a couple months earlier, but he still had a hard time understanding. He wanted to work hard, though, and he did not give up. “I like how the Oxford community is small and feels like a family,” he explained. Oxford has helped teach Kenneth many things, and he has become an even better person. He played his first organized games of soccer and basketball here at Oxford. He now feels more confident than he did when he arrived, and he has become a well-liked person around campus.
Kenneth has always had an interest in helping others. He joined the “Ox Nation” group to continue the sort of service work he practiced back home with the “Louza Friend Foundation”. Kenneth sees value in helping and giving back. In addition, Kenneth also has an interest in short films and music production.
Kenneth hopes to graduate and earn his high school diploma. He then wants to get his college degree in Business Administration. Following college, he plans to work here in the U.S. before moving back home to start his own business. Over the summer, he will be working on getting an Americans drivers license; he’ll also volunteer at a church in Dallas, Texas. He will be living with his aunt, and he plans to get a summer job.
It was a pleasure to learn about Kenneth Kanuma–where he has come from and what he envisions his future to look like.