If you haven't had a chance to catch a Wolf Pack women's basketball game this year, you probably haven't met one of Nevada's newest student-athletes, Mireille "Mimi" Mungedi. Mimi came to the University of Nevada from Gabon and has a very unique story.
Learn a bit more about Mimi in this story, written by women's basketball senior and athletics department intern Christina Gough:
Long Road of Faith Leads Mungedi to Nevada
Written by communication intern Christina Gough
Mireille Mungedi, who goes by Mimi, has taken a very unique path to the University of Nevada women's basketball team, coming to Nevada from Libreville, Gabon in Africa.
One of first questions that people ask the 6-7 Mungedi is what brought her to the other side of the world to play basketball for the Wolf Pack. The soft-spoken 22-year old normally has a very simple response: that it was her faith that brought her here. Mungedi's strong faith and passion allowed her to follow her heart even if it meant leaving her comfort zone and her family. Mungedi left behind her mother and father, along with four of her sisters. Mungedi's other two sisters, Linda and Sandrine, both live in the U.S. as well. Mungedi lived in North Carolina for a little over a year and a half before traveling across the country to Nevada.
Along with her height, Mungedi also has an extreme amount of natural athleticism and physical ability. Prior to coming to Nevada, Mungedi had only participated in organized basketball for six years. Her ability to quickly learn the game of basketball is something that can most likely be attributed to her high level of intelligence.
Mungedi is studying civil engineering and has a great desire to, as she put it, "build things." Her interest in in engineering is something that is very rare not only among women, but among student-athletes in general. The education system in Africa is much different than the one used here in America. By the time students in Africa reach the 10th grade, they choose one of two sequences of classes that they will continue to study. The first sequence consists of science, math, chemistry and physics. The second sequence focuses on English, French, economics and philosophy. Mungedi chose to study the first sequence, which has led to her decision to study engineering. Mungedi hopes to use her degree in civil engineering for a career in working on the construction of large buildings, roads and bridges. These are areas that are significantly lacking in Africa, Mungedi said.
The biggest obstacle for Mungedi coming to the U.S. was the language barrier. While she was able to quickly understand people speaking the language, she found that it was more difficult for others to understand her speaking, due to her heavy accent.
There is much more to Mungedi than her intelligence and basketball ability. She is an avid tennis fan, loves to cook and enjoys going to see romantic comedies. Her favorite professional athlete is tennis player Rafael Nadal. Mungedi is also fluent in three languages including English, French and Lingala. Lingala is the native language of her village in Gabon.
Although her journey to Division I basketball has come with much sacrifice, Mungedi is very pleased with her decision to come to Nevada. Mungedi hopes to leave her mark on the program and continue on with her career in engineering.