Meet Joe Wathika, business sophomore, as he describes some of his life experiences since moving from Kenya.
Though he has already run business organizations, followed his passion for DJing, and explored Taiwan, Joe says his life experiences have barely begun.
Q: If you could describe your life thus far by naming one food, which food would it be and why?
A: I would describe my life as a torta. It’s a Mexican bread thing. On the outside, it has the softest bread. It’s the perfect texture. My life is like a soft bread. I mean, I’ve had some challenges, but it’s been a good life. I’m still young and have a lot to experience. On the inside, the torta has yummy stuff like avocados. The guacamole is my family – they’re nice, fresh, and never get old. The jalepeño sauce is a little something you can add to spice it up. Those are my friends. I have the choice to add a lot or just a little, to get that extra spice in my life. The tomatoes and onions are the regular steps of life. They’re part of it, so you have to eat them. At the core, you have the meat. The meat is nice, tender, and different. That is the future, I guess. The meat is spread all the way throughout the torta. You just keep enjoying it as you go. The more I learn, the more I enjoy life.
Q: So you’re from Kenya? Tell me about that country.
A: I love the simplistic nature of people. They don’t have everything, so they live for the moment. Everyone knows their neighbors. There, your parents are less protective. They let kids experience things. Also, people are very direct. You always know what they’re thinking.
Q: How long did you live there?
A: 13 years. I moved here because my dad moved here for opportunities. I still have a lot of family in Kenya, though. I have five siblings in the U.S. that are my dad’s kids and four in Kenya that are my mom’s kids.
Q: Do you think you’ll ever want to go back to Kenya?
A: I haven’t been back since 2010. Who knows? I might eventually move back. Maybe I’ll become president – his excellency, the honorable President Wathika. That’d be cool.
Q: Rumor has it you got left behind in Taiwan. What happened?
A: Oh gosh. It’s so funny. I went to Taiwan for two weeks last summer with a group that volunteered, teaching English to Taiwanese children. Not really knowing what documents to bring overseas, I left my permanent resident card at home because I didn’t want to lose it in Taiwan. Now, I am an American citizen, but at the time, I needed the card. We were at the airport in Taiwan ready to leave. I scanned my passport but realized I needed my permanent resident card. I had to stay in Taiwan for 4 extra days, while my cousin mailed the card to me. For 4 days, I stayed at a hostel and explored Taiwan. It was great. I went to the national palace museum in Taiwan, ate xiaolongbao (little dumplings filled with chicken broth stuff), visited Taipei 101 (the highest building in Taiwan), toured a university, saw Buddhist temples, and baked pineapple cakes with Taiwanese volunteers.
Q: Alright, Joe, what’s the dream?
A: To know what I want to do with my life. I don’t know yet. One dream is to have a full-time job running a business and being a DJ on the weekends.
Q: What do you do at OCU?
A: I am treasurer of Ris4Thursday, which is my favorite thing. I am also the appropriations chair for Student Senate, as well as a member of DECA, the ethics and debate team, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Toastmasters (a group that practices communication and leadership skills). Oh, and I’m an RA!
Q: As an RA, describe the worst resident imaginable.
A: Somebody who is filthy and leaves trash everywhere. That’s nasty.
Q: If you were a performance major, what would you list under the special skills category of your resume?
A: I’d write down my house music DJ skills, probably. I wish I had a sword fighting skill or something. I used to do Taekwondo.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert mountain volcanic island with tornadoes, tsunamis, and wild hogs, how would you have gotten there?
A: Wow, I’d have to do something really bad to deserve that. The worst thing I can think of is being mean to Sonja from the caf. She’s so sweet. If someone is mean to her, they deserve the ultimate punishment.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Cause my mixed tape was too hard for it to resist. Then, when the chicken got to the other side, my tape was hot enough to roast it, and I ate it.