Guled Adan Abdi, towers in strength and hope, unlike many children his age, despite the many curves and bolts that life has thrown at him. He lives with his two siblings and mother in a poor neighbourhood in Somali. In 2002, Guled’s father disappeared and was later presumed dead. This made Guled miss out on a lot of his education and is only in the third year at – a class usually for eight year olds. His poor mother, a mere anjeera-Somali pancakes seller, struggled to cater for the family.
Despite the many pressures and challenges the little Somalian has faced, he manages to keep hope alive, finding solace in his passion and strengthening his innovative skill. At a very young age, he taught himself how to make plastic toys from bits of discarded objects, and then worked out how to motoris e them by studying real cars.
“I started making toys when I was younger,” he told the BBC Somali Service. “I used to play with them without any motor. But later I said to myself: ‘Why don’t you make them into a moving machine? So I looked at the cars in the town and invented my toys with the same design.”
From noon to late in the evening the genius works tirelessly on his awe inspiring innovation. So far, he has constructed four electronic toys, including a truck and a plane, mainly using plastic from old cooking oil containers. He has also invented a fan that can be used as a light at night. At this point, you may be tempted to imagine that the whiz kid may have gained some form of formal training or learnt from an existing design, but you would be wrong.
“I have never seen anyone make such things, he explains. I investigated and found out how a car’s tyres turn”
Another interesting fact about the boy’s invention is that he doesn’t have to spend much purchasing materials, as he sources most of them from waste dumps. The only things he has to pay for are the batteries, which cost $0.25 (£0.17) for a pair.
To get the toys to move, Guled connects them to a battery-powered control box, which is marked with a plus and minus sign.
“If it is switched to minus, the car will move backwards, if you move the switch to the plus it will go forwards,” he explains.
Behind Guled, Asha Ahmed Omar, his loving teacher and mentor stands as a strong force propelling him to give full expression to the giant inside him. He purchased the first batteries and encouraged him to continue experimenting.
Through the years, the Somalian Eaglet has blossomed and remained positive for his dear family in thick and thin. Now his fame has spread beyond Buhodle after his teacher told the local authorities about her ingenious pupil, and this gave him his first opportunity to travel 270km (170 miles) to Garowe, the main town of Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, where he had the honour of presenting his inventions to the Puntland President, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali at state house, where he was offered a full scholarship.
For Guled this is just the beginning of huge achievements, as he keeps his focus on the laurel on the hills.
In confidence, he speaks about the future he sees, “I would like to gradually learn how to become a producer of cars.”
At 13, Guled inspires many by his passion and determination.
What is your passion and what are you doing with it?
© 2016 – 2017, Lovelyn Okafor. All rights reserved.