Mercy Mburu’s arrival to USA was a stroke of lucky happenstance. Her mother had a friend who was bent on going to America, and would constantly apply for a green card. One day, while they were together, Mercy’s mother decided to fill one for herself to kill time. A few weeks later, she got a reply saying she had been chosen. Her friend, the one who had passionately pursued a green card, did not get in.
“I think it was all by God’s grace and timing. The way we got here was a miracle,” she says, adding that she was four years old when they relocated.
She does not remember much about her childhood in Kenya. She however says she carried with her the African spirit of caring for another person. The Ubuntu philosophy of compassion and humanity that defines Africans is alive in her.
“I haven’t grown as an American child but as an African child with Kenyan principles and rules. I was taught to respect elders and my Aunt reminded us that in the house we must only speak Swahili,” she says.
She is grateful that despite being thousands of miles away from the home of her birth, her parents often reminded her that what defines humans is their ability to help those in need.
Her deep connections with her roots, and the knowledge that she should not watch silently as those around her suffer is what motivates her and nudges her towards reaching out to the less fortunate.
She is an active member of an organization called Global Health partnership. The group that is made up of several Kenyans delves into various health issues including mental health that is still considered taboo in Kenya and Africa as a whole.
“One thing that seems to be common when talking to my friends or people who have gone through depression, is the feeling of worthlessness. The feeling that life would be better without them. That they don’t have anywhere they belong or anyone they can talk to anymore,” she says.
Mercy believes her experience as a Kenyan in diaspora has awakened the realization that when you are a foreigner, you are likely to be caught in two conflicting worlds. And there is a constant push to find your identity. The struggle to act like an American, yet maintain your Kenyan side can be overwhelming. She says it is a tricky balance where you are judged if you lean more towards one side.
“I have also felt torn between Kenya and America – it is as if each never accepted me fully,” she says.
Her mission is to travel the world and make people feel that they matter – even those who are afflicted by disease and are losing hope in life and in God.
“We go to Kenya every year and do a bug medical mission where doctors, nurses, and other practitioners volunteer to give medical attention to the people back home. We send suitcases of medication and equipment to help and give to the community,” Mercy says.
She hopes to become the representative of “Face of Kenya- USA” and use the platform to do charity work. Face of Kenya is an organization that brings together Kenyans in diaspora and encourages them to live to their potential despite being away from home.
Mercy feels her potential is in charity work, and creating awareness on issues affecting the underprivileged. You can vote for Mercy here
“If you go to my gofundme page, you will see the story of a little boy called Levi who died due to lack of resources to go to hospital. My goal is to get people together and raise money to help so that we never have such cases in future,” says Mercy.
Mercy hopes to hold a workshop with Kenyans and discuss alcoholism, depression and teaching them how to find love amidst chaos.
She has also gone on missions in India, Mexico and other African countries.