'A plan and a dream'
This Kenyan man has no background in aviation or engineering. But he's always loved planes. And after spending months researching on the internet, he's trying to build one in his yard. The test flight is scheduled for next week.
James Fallows comments:
It is easy to think of people in poor countries as "people in poor countries," or the "third world masses," "the global poor," and so on. It is easy to do that from rich countries, and easy from the rich big-city enclaves of still-poor countries. It's also easy to do this while still granting in theory that, sure, all people everywhere have common dreams, and blah blah blah.
But in my experience -- mainly in Ghana and Kenya during the ’70s, in Southeast Asia in the 1980s, and in China these past few years -- there is a cumulatively very different and very powerful experience that comes from meeting person after person like the Kenyan aviator-aspirant. That is, people whose material circumstances and range of experience are vastly different from a typical person's in London or high-end Shanghai or San Francisco, and who objectively have nowhere near the same opportunities -- but who take their own life drama and possibilities just as seriously and can dream just as ambitiously. For instance, I am thinking of a man in his 70s in a village in western China whose consuming project is a handwritten history of life in his village, from his boyhood during the era of war in the late 1930s and 1940s, through the Great Leap Forward of the 1950s, to the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, and onward. He is someone who wears the same pants, shirt, and jacket virtually every day, because that's what he has. He is part of "the rural poor," but he has a plan and a dream.
| October 14, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
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