Written by Zoe Chambers, Livingstone intern
For those among you who volunteered with African Impact in Livingstone, Zambia Mr Mulopas happy face is a familiar one. To quote him, ‘There was no one who has seen me angry… I don’t think’. From teaching at Adult Literacy Club to building a classroom to holding language lessons his talents are endless and he is always there to assist the volunteers and put a smile on their face.
Sitting down with him one morning I asked, if I could interview him. His answer; ‘Yes. But I sell my information.’ So here’s a bit of information on our staff member extroadinaire.
For starters, his name is Longinus, and he has somehow managed to be the only member of staff who does not go by his first name. There is debate as to why, but he says he is most comfortable being known by that and even his wife calls him Mr. Mulopa now. Another thing not many people know is that as well as being a keen gardener – a proper one, as he puts it, as he grows vegetables unlike one of our beloved drivers Benny who just grows flowers, he also keeps ducks. Twenty-four ducks to be precise. He does not dispute that he is Mumma Duck and on approaching the duck house they all gather round him ready to show him some love…and be fed.
Starting out his working life as a grade 2 teacher in his home town of Mazabuka he started his teacher training. Unfortunately a corruptive principal cut his training short and Mr. Mulopa moved to Livingstone in 1992. After working for some time at the first job he got, his boss encouraged him to go on a course to learn a skill. Initially he wanted to be an auto-electrician but as the class was full he joined building and after excelling at that continued along the building path. It was again his boss who suggested Mr. Mulopa take the job at African Impact, and oh how grateful we are. With his expertise in building and experience in teaching he is an invaluable asset and the volunteers love him. We hope he loves us too. Speaking about the volunteers he said; ‘I like working with volunteers with them helping me. I can teach them. I joined this company to teach the volunteers to build so I like when they are there.‘
Working for African Impact since it started in 2004, Mr. Mulopa has seen it all and is an excellent person to ask when it comes to the impact The Happy Africa Foundation and African Impact are having on the community.
‘I’ve seen a big impact in everything we do. When building schools, it has changed people’s life. Particularly home based care. It has encouraged to do away with stigma. People that were bed ridden are doing well now. The volunteers make such a difference. In government clinics, they like to be helped and they have seen a change with the medical volunteers. The volunteers are not paid to do this and it can be tough for them but the clinics are helped in one way or another.
Most teachers in community schools are not trained, and the volunteers are often very educated. They help where teachers lack and the children love them. So on the ground there is an impact and you can see change and people are appreciating it in the compounds."
Here’s to many more years of Mr Mulopa’s assistance in making even more of a positive impact on the communities we support.