In a Foreign Land - Kirsten Kensinger '07
In a Foreign Land
Kensinger (in hat) with other volunteers constructing
a stove for a local family.
Alumna Kirsten Kensinger '07 traveled far from home in pursuit of her calling. She found it in San Bartolo Aguas Calientes, Totonicapan—the rural highlands of Guatemala. Kensinger is a Peace Corps volunteer and works as a rural health technician in Guatemala. She teaches preventative health to women's groups, students, and even local officials. She also raises funds for infrastructure projects, working to get the essentials—cement floors, better stoves, and latrines—for the local people.
As a Peace Corps volunteer Kensinger fulfills her passion for service and for travel. But most of all, she loves the challenges of her work. “Every day is a challenge,” she says. “First, I had to learn a new language, then integrate into an indigenous community, and now convince people to come and listen to me speak about health. There are definitely good days and bad days.”
Kensinger says the good days outshine the bad, especially when she can make a difference in the lives of the indigenous community she works with. She says her Saint Mary’s experience was integral in her path to post-graduate service. “My professors at Saint Mary's definitely taught me how I could make a difference in the world by using both my voice and my education to fight injustices,” Kensinger says.
She graduate from Saint Mary’s with a BA in humanistic studies (HUST), a major, she says, that cultivated her literary skills and helped her to become a well-rounded thinker. “I liked the HUST approach of studying literature and cultural history together, examining major influences of a time period such as its philosophy, theology, politics, and art,” she says.
Through this broad education, Kensinger cultivated a desire to work in another culture. She also further developed the personal qualities that are seeing her through her Peace Corps experience—“persistence, fortitude, and integrity—things I need daily in order to work in the developing world.”
When Kensinger has a moment free from her new community, she’s busily raising funds to help them. Visit gogofunds.blogspot.com to learn more.