Phillip Nolan was known as the man without a country. OTCs Katherine Mantonya can be called with the student with two countries.
Mantonya will be leaving in a less than two weeks for Brazil, her second homeland, and where she lived for many years while her father worked as a second-generation missionary. He also grew up in Brazil.
“I was seven when we moved to Brazil where Dad planted churches and trained pastors,” the 21-year-old said. “We stayed until 2003 and went back in 2004 and stayed for another eight years.”
The family lived in the city of Porto Velho in the state of Rondonia near the equator. It’s a city as large as Springfield but according to Mantonya “Springfield feels bigger.”
In PortoVelho, homes were surrounded by 15-foot walls to keep thieves out because stealing was a big problem.
“Going out at night tended to be dangerous. We lived in the bad part of town and our house was robbed six times in eight months,” she said. “But those living there were kind people, hospitable people. There are open markets and no one-stop shops.”
Mantonya enjoyed growing up in the country where it was constantly hot and humid. A night when the temperature dropped to 75 degrees was a night when people “almost froze to death.”
“It was always in the high 90s and the humidity was 80 percent. Last year, when it was so hot here, it felt really vice,” she said.
The reason Mantonya is returning to meet the requirements of having a permanent visa to the country stamped, which her father got for her and her siblings when they first arrived in the South American country.
She will be gone for about a month and will then return to Springfield where she will resume her studies and working in OTCs Caf 101 as a cashier.
And while she’s lived in two countries, theres no question where her allegiance lies.
“Im an American. Three years ago, I was a Brazilian. But I like it here and I like it at OTC. I like my job and I want to come back to my job later this summer,” she said.
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