Richard Turere’s story reminds me of the story of the Boy, David. Very early in his life, David was in the wild watching over his Father’s sheep. He kept them out of harm’s way, saving them from bears and lions. I don’t know how old David was when he performed all those stunts but Richard Turere was only eleven (11) years old when he outsmarted lions with five flashlight bulbs, a car battery and a solar panel. We will tell you all about it.
The Lion-human conflict is as old as Man. Lions devour the livestock owned by individuals and these individuals retaliate by going all out to kill the lions, assassinate them for killing their means of livelihood. Unbelievable stuff, right? Wait until a lion gives you grief.
Anyway, like David, Richard had the single honour of taking care of his Father’s cattle very close to the Nairobi National Park which is home to some 40 lions and probably more. Sadly, they were frequently attacked by these lions. As time went on, he observed that when someone was awake walking around with flashlights, the lions never attacked. He discovered that the presence of some form of light from his homestead kept the lions at bay. He realised that the Lions associated bulbs with people. To think that Lions are so afraid of humans, he devised a plan to trick them into thinking he was awake, so that he could get some precious sleep.
So, using LED torch bulbs, wires, batteries, a solar panel and an indicator switch, the young Kenyan connected them together to set up an automated lighting system of four or five torch bulbs around the cattle. This lighting system is what he now calls, “Lion Lights”. The lion lights don’t point towards the cattle, or on any property, but outwards into the darkness. They flash in sequence giving the impression that someone is walking around. In over two years of installing this technology, the Turere family have not had one visit from the big cats while six (6) of their neighbours have suffered losses.
Now, two things make this story really exciting – One, he has never learned electrical electronics in school or through any other means and secondly, he was only a boy when he decided to something about his family’s losses.
Lion lights was a win-win innovation in the sense that it not only protected the Livestock from the lions, it also protected the lions from possible retaliation from angered livestock owners who have suffered losses. It also saves the Kenyan government millions of Kenyan Shillings which would have been paid out as compensation to ‘bereaved’ families.
For appreciation of his efforts, Richard Turere, now 14, is enjoying a full scholarship at Brookhouse International School, an education his parents could never have afforded. That is not all. TED Global has also announced that the young Masai inventor will be speaking at the next TED conference alongside Bono, the lead singer of U2 on February 26 2013 in Long Beach, California. How about that? From Nairobi to California with love, Baby.
Stop throwing up your hands in surrender to issues when they arise. Cease from carrying on as if there is nothing you can do about the challenges before you. Don’t give into the Lions who are out to devour you and yours. Arise, my friend. Just like Richard, there is a solution to that problem. There is something you can do to save the situation. Who knows, you might just be planting the seed for an unbelievable future
Don’t think you are too young. Remember, Richard was only 11 at the time he made this breakthrough.
Stop Complaining, Friend!!!