For those who decry the evils of television and its questionable influence on our kids’ lives these days, get ready for a change of perspective. The devil’s workshop brought heaven to a bunch of kids – and parents – in Nigeria.
During Sun ‘n Fun, Lyn Freeman, head of Build A Plane, shared the story of a 17-year-old boy who wrote to tell him his village had recently gotten electricity. Soon after, the village also got a satellite dish.
With that, the boy, Kasarachi “Kasa” Ejimofor discovered “Discovery Wings,” the cable television show all about airplanes, aviators and flying. The show motivated him to design an airplane. One thing led to another and Kasa found Build A Plane (BAP).
He needed funds, of course, as does any aspiring aircraft manufacturer. The converted total was roughly $500 in U.S. dollars. BAP enlisted Cirrus Design, founded and run by Alan and Dale Klapmeier, brothers who also began with dreams to design and build an airplane.
Kasa also is blessed with encouraging parents. At their urging he left his home village for Aba, a large city in southeastern Nigeria, and lived with his sister and her family.
At school, Principal C.G. Onuoha also favored the project. Along with his schoolmates, the airplane began to be built. The kids learned to weld and work with fiberglass. They scavenged for parts and materials.
“Their Build A Plane project built the spirit of facing challenges and hard work,” said Onuoha. “Building this airplane changed the lives of all participants. They learned to solve problems.”
Even when Kasa’s brother-in-law was killed by gunmen during a robbery, he persevered. “I decided to continue working on the project because I loved the airplane, I love aviation and I knew it was part of my future,” said Kasa.
Finally, two years after he put pencil to paper, the airplane was completed.
The mental, monetary and spiritual investment that created Kasa’s airplane will offer valuable dividends, a primary cornerstone of BAP’s mission. To wit, Chibuzo Uzoka says “I’ve always wanted to be an electrical engineer. Now this project has clearly shown the importance of math and science as needed in all engineering fields.”
Obinwanne Paul Ogbaka says, “I learned the basic dynamics and principles of flight. I now have a better understanding of how aircraft work, and I’d love to build another one!”
As for Kasa, BAP is now looking for a scholarship that will bring him to the U.S. to continue his studies in aeronautical engineering.
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