William Kamkwamba

August 20, 2008

kamkwanga290.jpgWhen he was just 14 years old, Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba built his family an electricity-generating windmill from spare parts, working from rough plans he found in a library book. See his interview on the right hand side of this site. If this does not move you stone your heart is.

Taxi Story – The Iraqi (II)

August 20, 2008

cab.jpg(Slunk down in his seat, a quiet night on Macquarie Street). Hey, where do you want to go? St Leonards eh? Strange place. You had a long day? 5.30 in the morning start? You are crazy. It is  long enough for me starting to drive at 3pm.  I finish at 11pm. That is respectable. But not respectable enough Read more

Transcending Cultures

August 10, 2008

commodorepush.jpgI was pleasantly, and genuinely surprised on my first visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to have a police car speed past me on the road from the airport – the surprise came from the familiarity of the car. It looked awfully like an Australian production vehicle. Sure enough, after a few days and plenty more sightings that indeed proved to be the case. The export of V6 and V8 Holden sedans to the house of Saud is an export success story, albeit an unsung one. On a subsequent visit I was amused to be caught in a traffic jam created by a broken down truck which was being shunted out of the way by one of those Holdens. The police car was not equipped with any bull bar with which to do this but had carefully nudged up then proceeded to carefully propel the truck off the freeway. It made me laugh – the Holden has been treated like this for decades back home but it did not require an Australian farmer with his Holden hack to show our Saudi friends how this car can can be treated. It was one of the few photos I felt safe taking of the police – shootings and killings of foreigners in the city (Riyadh) had everyone on edge and pointing a camera at law enforcement in that environment is not a good way of keeping a low profile!

I am Bulletproof Until the Lord Determines Otherwise

August 1, 2008

jesse-strong.jpgThese words leapt off the page when I was reading this week an article on those from Vermont who have died in the current mid East conflict (Article here, titled Home of the Brave). Apparently Vermont, with a tradition of military sacrifice going back to the Revolution, has recorded more combat deaths per head of population than any other state. Read more