Ingenuity Posted on January 28th, 2010 by

If you were to ask someone of the street what words they would use to describe Americans, chances are the word ‘ingenious’ would be among the resulting list.  From founding fathers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Edison and Bill Gates, we believe we hold a strong lineage of ingenious minds.  But I believe this is not due to an inherent ‘American nature’ but results from chance.  The real inventors are those in developing nations.

Inspired by the local atmosphere, we have done some of our own improvising.  When you can’t rely on a Target or Wal-mart to provide little necessities, you have to find other ways of making due.  We’ve created candle holders and a rolling pin out of old bottles,  a Tanzania version of Monopoly out of old cereal boxes and bottle caps, and house decorations of seed pods found in our backyard.  The cupboard in our hallway has been dedicated to raw materials and all scraps are deposited there until they are needed.

Ingenuity springs from making due with what you have.  In third world countries, resources are limited, creating an ideal playground for an ingenious mind. Here, children create play toys from discarded water jugs and old bicycle rims, women make handicrafts out of plant materials and men rig bicycles with grindstones to sharpen blades.  The creativity exhibited by the children in developing countries is precisely what the world needs when trying to tackle the problems like energy shortage and climate change. 

Unfortunately, the education to improve this creativity is not what it should be.  If you were born in Tanzania, you may not have had the opportunity to attend school as is granted in the States.  Success lies in opportunity.  These children have been given the priming for creativity and ingenuity but they lack education.  If given the education and opportunities, the children of developing nations could easily become the world leaders, inventors and scientists that will drive our world forward in the years to come. 


Comments are closed.