Jedidiah Manna - A Journey and a Dream by way of St. Francis
Nov 14, 2018 | St. Francis News, Featured Employees
From humble beginnings in Cameroon, Central Africa, to the doors of St. Francis Medical Center, a journey that took a year and a half, immense perseverance, and an indomitable spirit led to the start of a new life for Jedidiah Manna.
“Manna,” as he is known, fled Cameroon due to civil unrest. He left behind his work with an organization that helped the country’s many needy children. Because of his involvement with the organization, he was targeted by those in political power. Fearing for his safety, he urgently fled his homeland and traveled through various countries in North and South America with the goal of reaching the United States.
After a long, arduous journey over many months during which he faced detention and uncertainty, Manna was finally granted asylum and able to enter the U.S. He reached out to his grandmother who lives in Compton and immediately moved here to live with her and other relatives.
Not one to sit at home all day, Manna tried to enroll in school to pursue an education and career that would enable him to help others. He was told he needed to wait until he received all his necessary documents before he could start classes. Although disappointed by the delay, Manna’s spirit was no less diminished. He heard about St. Francis Medical Center and how he could contribute to community service and support patient care. Soon he was in touch with the Volunteer Department. This is when prospects picked up and opportunities opened for him.
Gilda Gonzalez, Director of Healthy Communities Initiatives and Volunteer Services, and Maria Cainas, Volunteer Department Coordinator, immediately recognized this young man’s potential; he displayed such intelligence and passion for helping others and endless energy and work ethic, spending his days productively. After making a positive first impression in the Emergency Department, he was then assigned to assist Manuela Ochoa, Orthopedic and Wound Care Clinics Manager. She recalled how impressed she was with him when he had to leave to take a school exam in Los Angeles, but then returned to help finish a project. He took four buses in the rain to get back to the office. He was determined to do whatever was needed to complete the job.
Manuela said, “Manna is a dedicated, honorable, caring and self-sacrificing individual that I wish we could all emulate.”
Gilda, too, had high praise for Manna, saying of him, “Some people come into our lives and quietly go. Others stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same.”
Always striving to do more, Manna met with a school counselor to discuss furthering his education. The counselor suggested that he enroll in a four-month phlebotomy program at the school. Manna was always interested in the medical field and thought it was a great idea. He completed the course and received his licensure this past August. He applied for a position at St. Francis, and soon after he was hired in our very own Lab. He said he is very grateful for all the opportunities he has been given, but he isn’t done yet. He intends to enroll at El Camino College to complete his general education courses and eventually go to medical school. We think he will make a fantastic physician one day.
We are very proud of Manna and his accomplishments and happy to have him as part of our health care team. His is just one of many success stories where volunteering at St. Francis Medical Center can provide on-the-job-training and the chance to give back to others, while opening doors to endless career opportunities. Thank you, Manna, for sharing your spirit of service with our hospital and our community!