Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Galimoto Dream to Reality:Grassroots "Ford" in Tanzania

The most gratifying part of being a writer is to have your books go out into the world and bring back freinds and connections and the unexpected....

I recently recieved an email because someone in Tanzania found my book Galimoto.  He wrote to me  of a young man who lives in Tanzania and made these toy cars from old wires when he was a child.
The young man tells of how, when he built these remarkable scultures, he dreamed of building his own real car one day.

Now like Kondi in the book who sat under the shade of a tree in Malawi and built his Galimoto,  Mr. Ntubanga has set up a welding shop under a tree in Dar es Salaam.  And like Kondi he has followed his dream with determination and perseverance and has created a real working car from scaps of metal and other findings.

According to the email I recieved:  The car has already made its maiden trial “sail-far” safari, on road travelling from Dar es salaam where it was made at a welding workshop under a big tree, to Dodoma-the capital  and back, covering without complication, 450km twice, (thus 900km), on the journey that took 13 hours plus either way..!

Its speed is up to 60km per hour and its fuel consumption is quite economic, only consuming 30litres diesel per one way.

The email also claims this vehicle can do much more than provide transport:

For according to himself, he has done that to fulfil that childhood dream. As a child back in the village of Ng’wang’wita, area of Ng’wangimu, ward of  Nkoma in Bariadi District Shinyanga Region, he used to make toy cars-“galimotos” and thought that when he grows up he will make the real one. He sees this as just the beginning of flowering of his creativity. He plans to make other kinds of devices (implements) to meet the challenge of transportation in general, produces and goods carriage in urban and rural areas, sick people (emergence) carriage in rural areas, water availability - its carriage and storage, irrigation; electricity supply and agricultural agrarian revolution via simple technologies etc. This means that here is a “Tanzanian Thomas Edison” potential too..!
He says his car is multipurpose that, apart from being a 1.3 tonnes “beast of burden” able to carry up to 10 people as a group with their goods, or alternatively transport 1000 litres of water a go, can as well…
(2) Grind /mill maize and other cereals,
(3) Threshing same too,
(4) Extract-squeeze out sunflower oil from sunflower seeds,
(5) Pump water from wells and ponds,
(6)Make mud-made bricks, whether to be sun-dried (adobes) or red clay fire-burnt.  
(7)Be source of (produce) electrical power in the village for computer learning courses right at rural areas…!

With limited formal education, no ability to speak English(the langauge of the educated class in Tanzania) this young man has used his common sense, imagination and sheer grit to make his dream come true.  He has dreams of making a tractor next.  

At this point Mr. Ntubangan has not been able to find any financial backing for his efforts, for more projects.  He clearly has the ability and determination. 

It is my hope that someone who has an interest and the knowledge and the energy to help this man realize his dreams of building more "grassroots" technology to help the people of his country will see this blog.

Please share it, like it and comment and share it again and again...maybe a dream could come true.

To read more about this young man contact me for the complete document.


Barbara O'Connor said...

Karen, this is THE most amazing and heart-loving post. What a story! You are so blessed to have this tale in your Book of Life. Thanks for sharing.

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