He [Evans Wadongo] has no time for Kenya's political class, accusing them of "wanting people to remain poor so that they can stay in power". _POVery like the US political class of the past 2 years.
If we were to choose between Kenyans for president of the US, perhaps it would be better to choose one who has demonstrated the ability to solve real world problems, and a genuine desire and competence to help people.
As a child growing up in west Kenya, Wadongo struggled to do his homework by kerosene lamp. He was caned at school if his family ran out of fuel for the lamp, and he permanently damaged his eyesight by sitting over the smoky fumes when they did have kerosene.Clever problem solvers are far more in demand than clever con men and jive artists, such as many members of the US political class. Society should aim to produce far more actual problem solvers.
But his father, whom he describes as a teacher who was "very strict" and "my greatest inspiration", saw that he completed his studies and made it into university.
Once there, Wadongo started wondering how to improve conditions for children in communities similar to his home village -- and there are many. Though Kenya is one of the richest countries in east Africa, more than half the population lives on less than a dollar a day.
The young man had always wanted to help people but did not have the stomach to go into medicine, so he opted for engineering. He was only 19 when he invented his first solar lamp after using part of his student loan to buy what he needed.
"Then, I never thought it would take off on this scale. I just wanted to take one to my grandma," he recalled.
Some 15,000 lamps have been turned out since production started in 2004, and Wadongo says his goal is to hit 100,000 by 2015.
"I started in the village where I grew up and I saw kids going from primary into high school," he told AFP.
He has no time for Kenya's political class, accusing them of "wanting people to remain poor so that they can stay in power".
For Wadongo, the lamps are not an end in themselves, but rather "a way to lift people out of poverty." _PO