First off, everybody asks him about his zany name. But we’ll get to that.

The man otherwise known as William “Zungu” Joseph has spent more than 15 years pursuing wilderness adventures and putting out organizational bushfires. Today Zungu serves as Honeyguide’s procurement officer and as something like a jack-of-all-trades superstar.

He is that unsung hero in an organization who supports every department, every project, and every solution to every confounding conundrum. He gets the job done, gets it done well, and gets done on time and in style without ever asking for a round of applause. Anyway, by the time you want to thank him for his labors, he has already dashed off to work on the two dozen other issues he has to tackle that day.

Do you need to put up an electric fence that will zap and kill deadly venomous snakes on contact and thus protect your conservation doggies in their kennels? Zungu is your man. Do you need a bulk order of fireworks right away to throw over the heads of elephants invading community farms? Zungu will get you the extra-loud ones in pretty colors and do so before sundown. Whether the internet connection is down or your camp is on fire, Zungu has your back covered.

“You have to have heart, patience, spirit, and determination to do all this work,” said Zungu, in his typical rapid-fire speech and cadence. “I love my job, though. I love to support our team and know we are doing good work in communities.”

Zungu’s ties with Honeyguide’s executive director, Damian Bell, go back to 1998 when he started working as an assistant mechanic for Sokwe, a community-based tourism outfit Damian had founded in the mid-90s. Zungu quickly rose in the organization and displayed a knack for working with communities near tourism camps.

For three years, he headed up an offshoot of Sokwe’s community programs, the Maajabu Film Unit, which screened films on environmental education and other pressing issues in the early 2000s. Zungu has since lost count of how many villages, from those in Zanzibar to others in Lake Victoria’s Rubondo Island, in which he hosted screenings. He also went on to help launch small commercial farms outside of the Serengeti, which sought to provide an alternative income instead of poaching.

Just as Maajabu would later become acquired by the Tanzania Natural Resources Forum (TNRF), so Sokwe would merge with Asilia Africa, which recently won the prestigious Tourism for Tomorrow award for 2014. To this day, Zungu pulls double duty and also serves as one of Asilia’s community liaisons. Asilia, in fact, generously contributes to Honeyguide in supporting Zungu’s salary and other costs for his work.

So now what about that name? Born of a Rwandese father and Tanzanian mother in Mpanda Town in Tanzania’s southern Rukwa Region, William Joseph received his quirky moniker at a young age.

“An Italian nun at a Catholic church gave me that name when I like 5 years old,” he recalled. “The name stuck with me and ever since then, I have been known only as Zungu.”

The name could said to be derived from “mzungu,” or the Swahili word for “white person.” But perhaps that old Italian sister had the gift of prophecy because today “Zungu” might even stand for “kizunguzungu,” meaning “dizziness” and “giddiness.”

After all, Zungu carries out his arduous work with a giddy spirit, and after he has gone this way and that way, to the field and back in one day, to solve your problem, you might just be in awe of how he did it and feel a little dizzy yourself.

Vintage Zungu back in the day on community farm