George Kpuli works as a security guard at Himalayan Institute Cameroons’s main campus. Off the job, he’s also a woodcarver, craftsman, and practicing herbalist.
Having spent his childhood in Kumbo in the years before Cameroon gained its independence, George is an important link with tradition. He is a titleholder (Shey) and an active participant in ngwerong, the secret society which served as an executive body in Banso’s pre-colonial politics.
George’s compound in Sar-Ntoh (in Lamnso dialect: below palace) is a few hundred yards from the palace of the paramount Fon of Nso. A father of seven, he currently lives there with his mother, Bongburi, his youngest child, Gildas, and his wife, Grace, who is a princess of the nearby Nkar village.
George has worked all over Cameroon in the building trades. When the Himalayan Institute first arrived in the summer of 2007, the Fon of Nso sent George as part of the welcoming party. Looking back, he recalls, “On that day it was raining very seriously and we did all we could just to secure what we had in hand, and I am very proud to be a pioneer worker here, that I received them here the very first day they came.” After the Himalayan Institute Community Center was established, George was hired as a guard.
Since then, George has witnessed or taken part in all of the Himalayan Institute’s humanitarian programs. “My feelings are too much,” he says. “Help Africa Move Forward is about all of Africa, and they are here in Kumbo where I was born and bred. I don’t know how to express my feelings, the happiness, the joy that I have. The health center here is going a long way in helping the public. You see your herbs are doing far better than maybe some of those we have here. At Kishong [site of the School of Energy Farming] the plants which are about to be grown there are effective now because you have a school for sustainable farming.”
George’s future plans center around his seven children. He says, “Presently I’m fifty-six years old and soon I will be down in my grave. And so my goal now is to educate and train my children very well to the highest level.” Given the breadth of his experience, George still has a lot of teaching left for his biological and Himalayan Institute families.