Phillipo Makina is the man behing many construction works of Andiamo Youth Cooperative Trust. Together with some volunteers from Italy, he has supervised a number of projects. Our office caught up with him to find out how he started working at Andiamo and what have been his experiences.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I was born 35 years ago. I come from Chinkwakwa Village, Sub Traditional Authority Sawali here in Balaka. About my academic background, I dropped from school in standard 6 because of financial problems because my parents couldn’t manage to support me and Father Angel who was supporting my education at that time was transferred from the parish.
2. Why did you choose to join construction as an industry?
When I was young, my desire was to join priesthood but when I dropped out from school, my grandfather who was working in one of the leading construction company then advised me to venture into construction. Before I joined in 1993, I worked as a hairdresser for 3 years. All I wanted also, was to work with Europeans which finally happened.
3. You are now a foreman, can you tell us which projects have you worked or supervised?
I have worked and supervised several projects like the construction of Andiamo Education Institutions Campus, Nankhombe house of Volunteers, Paediatric ward and Community hospital which we have just finished.
4. Looking at your age you are young comparing to people working under your supervision, how do you manage them?
I cannot do the whole job alone. I always remember to respect others so that in turn they can recognize me as their Foreman. That’s how I manage them.
5. You have been working with volunteers from Italy especially Franco and Beppe, what can you say about them?
They are really hardworking people, very friendly and willing to share what they know. They have a caring spirit mainly of their work mates. They make sure that everyone is happy.
6. What have you benefited from this career?
I have benefited a lot. Now, I know ground leveling, how to build upstairs’ houses, and also on top of that I have iron sheets and bicycles which I was given by the Cooperative. Maybe if I was not here I couldn’t have had these.
7. In your opinion, what challenges are affecting the construction industry in Malawi?
It’s sad that people who are building our nation are the less paid and most of the times they are not provided with safety materials like work suits, boots, groves and helmets. For us to be healthy, we need to eat good food and that means we have to be paid better salaries. At Andiamo we are lucky because we have our friends who help us with safety materials.
8. If you are asked to mention someone who has always been there for you, who could you mention?
There are many people who have helped me to reach this position but Father Mario Pacifici and The Director of Andiamo Youth Cooperative Trust Andrew Galeta have played a big role. Their advice, encouragement and support have really helped me to work hard.