The only reason Sierra Leone native Francis Mustapha survived, and his seven siblings didn’t, is because he had the opportunity to be educated at an early age. His education, at the hands of a nurse in his native West African country, later led to his coming to the United States.
In 1972, Mustapha graduated from Marion College (Indiana Wesleyan University) with a B.A. in biology. After that, he went to graduate school at Indiana University, where he earned his M.A. in botany and Ed.S. He and his American wife, Bobbie, returned to West Africa in 1979 to teach in two teacher training schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone until economic, political and medical situations there forced the family back to the United States in 1983.
Since 1990, war has destroyed both training institutions and, in 1995, Mustapha's own home village of Medina.
Since 1983, Mustapha taught biology in the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Community Schools. Along with being named "Teacher of the Year" in Fort Wayne in 1994, Mustapha was inducted in The National Teachers Hall of Fame. He was granted U.S. citizenship in July 1992.
When Mustapha retired in 2010, he and his wife, Bobbie, dedicated their life savings to building two schools in his native country. As of Oct. 9, the schools have been completed and 70 percent furnished, according to a blog post from Sierra Leone.
Mustapha and his fellow parishioners at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Fort Wayne are now raising funds for school supplies and equipment, shipment costs and operating expenses for at least a year.
Mustapha will be the scheduled speaker at the the Monday, Nov. 12, luncheon meeting of Rotary of Grosse Pointe. Rotary of Grosse Pointe meets Mondays at noon at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Lunch costs $15, and the public is invited. Additional information about Rotary of Grosse Pointe is available at www.gprotary.org.