An image of Obed Nfandikup Mungunsi
One immigrant’s story highlights the importance of compassion in today’s world
by Weama Kassem

A few times in your life, you’ll find someone who is doing exactly what they were meant to do. When you run into these people, it’s breathtaking, especially in this line of work: homecare. It means seeing caregivers form meaningful relationships with their clients and enabling someone’s independence at home.

I hired a caregiver who gave me the opportunity to witness this principle in action. That caregiver is Obed Nfandikup Mungunsi.

Mungunsi came into my office just over a year ago and instantly captivated me. Not only was I blown away by his story but also by the way that I watched him interact with every client that he was given the chance to help.

Mungunsi is a first-generation immigrant from Cameroon who came to the U.S. in December of 2021. Back home, he was one of 10 children, all of whom moved to the city in search of work—except for Mungunsi. Instead of leaving his village, he stayed behind and cared for his sick grandmother as her full-time companion. With no access to facilities or caregiving professionals nearby, the teenager was fully responsible for his grandmother’s well-being, even as she became bed bound.

For four years, Mungunsi was her primary caregiver until he enrolled in college. He had already put off his education out of fear of leaving her side, but eventually forced himself to pursue his education in hopes of a brighter future. Then, three years after he obtained his bachelor’s degree in IT, his grandmother passed away.

After her passing, Mungunsi was ready to leave his home country and pursue work in the U.S. Unfortunately for him—but fortunately for everyone else—he never found the information technology work he was looking for and instead used his caregiving skills to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Becoming a CNA, or any professional caregiver, requires a great deal of change and patience. However, Mungunsi found that it came naturally—an advantage that he credits to his late grandmother.

At this point in his story, I was fortunate enough to run into Mungunsi. He came into our SYNERGY HomeCare of Edmond office, “looking for somewhere that values compassion.”

Given his background, we were thrilled to provide Mungunsi with clients. What we didn’t expect, however, was just how quickly he’d become the face of everything that our company stands for.

After only seeing a handful of clients, the glowing reviews started pouring in. These reviews weren’t typical five-star marks either; they were stories and testimonials about what Mungunsi was doing for them that we couldn’t quite believe at first. Clients told us about how he would sing their loved ones to sleep, how he would sit and share stories about belief and the reflection that aging brings, and how they didn’t feel like there was a caregiver in the house, but instead felt like there was another family member devoted to keeping them at ease.

The aging process can be a challenging and sometimes scary thing, but time and time again Mungunsi is an overwhelming source of peace for the families going through it. Now, more than a year after first coming into our office, he has become a best friend, mentor and brother to countless families who have requested his service.

With every paycheck Mungunsi earns for his extraordinary work, he sends a portion back home to his village in Cameroon. Most recently, he funded the complete construction of a 2,642-gallon reservoir in his village which is the only clean water source for miles. His life goal is to continue to supply drinking water to the villages like the one he grew up in.

“The world is faced with far too many problems, and in my opinion, only genuine human compassion can preserve it,” he recently told me. He is a role model for not just our company and caregivers but for everyone. We are lucky he is among us now. For all of you who might be inspired or motivated by Mungunsi story, I encourage you to find ways to give back to your local communities, particularly to those who cared for you.

Weama Kassem is the owner of SYNERGY HomeCare of Edmond