American pride runs strong through Congo translator

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Todd Wivell
  • 17th Air Force Public Affairs
American pride runs strong throughout the United States, it can be seen everywhere, from the U.S. service member who defends our Nations freedoms to the U.S. citizen proudly flying "Old Glory" outside their home.

Now imagine finding that American pride in a citizen of another country. That citizen is someone who loves the United States, whose goal is to one day visit our great country and who studies the American language day in and day out. His job as a U.S. translator for the Democratic Republic of the Congo could not be a better job for his goals and aspirations.

Yulu Kabamba Alphonse, a free lance translator, has been working for the men and women of the U.S. Air Force and the DRC for the last two weeks as part of MEDLITE 11.

"Working with the leadership of MEDLITE 11, I have found a higher sense of the American spirit," said Yulu. "I have read a lot of books about American leadership and to finally work with it face-to-face was a dream come true.

"I have gained so much knowledge in these last two weeks. (The people I worked with) have done everything to prove that what I have read in books about great American leadership is true."

Yulu stated that he works hard at being a good translator and learning as much as he can about the United States. His vigorous work ethic includes setting a new goal for himself each morning with reading something new, learning new words and then conducting a self evaluation in the afternoon to see how well he has done.

"I went to school but that was not enough," said Yulu. "I knew that I would only get better with personal effort and I gained that desire through my knowledge of the American spirit.

"There is no better way to achieve human dignity than by what the Americans have shown in their day-to-day lives. It is that perseverance that drives me every day to become a better translator and to learn the most I can about the United States."

Although Yulu has never been to the United States, he hopes that one day he will get an opportunity to travel there.

"I would love the chance to travel to the U.S. and apply the principles that I have instilled from my life and from the books I have read and hopefully contribute to that American spirit.

"That spirit was evident throughout these last two weeks of MEDLITE 11. The humanitarian aspect of this exercise is overwhelming, the relationship between the U.S. military and the Congolese was amazing to watch and I enjoyed the positive attitudes everyone displayed."

"Yulu's drive was evident in all of his work," said. Col. Joe Maslar, chief of aerospace medicine for the Illinois National Guard's 183rd Fighter Wing. "I would give him slides to translate and within minutes he would crank them out. He was a definite asset to us during this two week exercise and was a valuable member of our partnership."

"There were two things that impressed me so much about Yulu," said Lt. Col. Matt Peterson, the director of operations for the Minnesota Air National Guard's 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. "It is one thing to talk about the United States but when you talked to Yulu he knew so much more about it. For instance, he started a conversation with me about the U.S. healthcare system and he knew so much from the current state of it to what lies ahead, that alone is amazing for someone who has never been to the United States.

"The other thing that really impressed me was his work ethic with his children. He has one who is a journalist and one who is attending medical school. He told me that he would work with them each night on their current grade year and then on top of that teaches them the next year and at the same time teaches them about American history and values.

"His love for the United States is clear in everything he does and his understanding of the English language was amazing, he could translate medical terms that Americans have hard times with - within minutes. I am proud to have worked with him over these last two weeks."

Yulu stressed how the positive values of the U.S. military could be seen in everything they did and how that positive attitude is shown in the interest displayed by the U.S. in the African continent and its people through exercises like MEDLITE 11. All of that in the hopes that one day the DRC and Africa can become a free nation.

"Freedom is so important to Americans, it is evident in everything they do," said Yulu. "I hope by the continuing partnership and personal achievements, that one day the children of African can experience the same freedom that I so yearn for."