HIC Spotlight: Napoleon Kome
In the midst of the Himalayan Institute Cameroon’s major humanitarian initiatives, the remarkable stories of those responsible often go unreported. This section of the blog seeks to showcase the diverse range of backgrounds, talents, obstacles, and triumphs represented in our local staff and contacts.
Napoleon Kome works as a groundskeeper at the Himalayan Institute Cameroon. He holds the distinction of being one of HIC’s first contacts in Cameroon.
Napoleon grew up in Kiyan, a small village just outside of Kumbo. During his high school years, he opened a modest import business with the money he’d saved from working odd jobs over break. He made frequent trips to Nigeria and to the Douala ports, looking for clothing shipments to buy at wholesale. After finishing school, Napoleon took on trading full-time.
Napoleon was at first able to make enough money to provide for his wife Winifred and their growing family, but as the market shifted toward monopoly in the early 2000’s, his business faced growing challenges. In 2004, unable to compete, Napoleon filed for bankruptcy and returned to his family farm a destitute man.
He began spending his days at the Kumbo Council looking for work. It was there in 2006 that he was introduced to the spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute, Pandit Tigunait. Tigunait promised him that in one year’s time he would return to launch a community center in Kumbo.
Napoleon’s excitement grew in the following months. “I was going to the guest house every day,” he said, “just waiting for the Himalayan Institute to return.” When the HIC main building was leased in July 2007, Napoleon was hired as a groundskeeper.
“Work at the Himalayan Institute is a very different as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “When I was working on the farm I used to work so much and overlabor myself or when I was trading I used to overstrain myself. Since I’ve started here, what is given to me at the end of the month has never been late, and I don’t doubt it. That’s a very great impact. I’ve been able to solve many problems during this length of time, particularly the children’s tuition. The Institute has helped me with that.”
Napoleon was a beneficiary of the HIC’s School Assistance Program, an employee trust fund that helps pay for tuition, school uniforms, and books.
In his home village, Napoleon is respected as a source of information about Kumbo and the HIC.