The excesses of African politics usually result in dreadful consequences for the ordinary person. Surmounting these is often a huge challenge, as war and conflict displace people from their zones of comfort, safety, and certainty. But this is not the case with Awa Blaise Chi. His excellence when it comes to engineering is simply captivating and uniquely innovative.
Chi Blaise, who is just 17-years-old, is a self-taught engineer who is full of burning ambition to make meaningful contributions to the world despite being in an environment engulfed by strife and conflict. His dazzling talent has earned him the nickname "Big Engineer."
He builds remote-controlled automobile toys and such capabilities reveal a young man who does not let the circumstances surrounding him define who he is and what he wants to achieve.
“This work, it was the time that I was still small so I was trying to play with toys and there are parents that were buying toys for their children so our own parents didn’t have money to buy us toys. So, I was trying now to form my own of the — to create my own toys, how I can also play with it. How those other children play with it. So, I was doing them during the Chrismas period because those are the time that parents get toys for their children. So when I see those toys, I always try to fix mine”, Blaise said.
A young man of amazing talent and skill, Blaise has single-handedly built a toy car, a truck, a front loader, and a double caterpillar. And the public shows him love for his exploits.
Due to a lack of proper and adequate resources, he uses discarded materials to carry out his work. "I use local discarded materials like carton, plywood, raffia palm, cables, battery, and plastic papers to produce all these", he said.
"I get some of the material in dust bins, in scraps, radio, and deck (DVD player) because I don’t have money to get the right ones so I decided to work for some dust bin and get the scrap deck, scrap radio and I pick cartons and some plywoods to combine them in my own way to have what I want like to have the caterpillar machine."
The striking feature about what he does is that he is able to operate these automobiles using a remote control keyboard.
"I use an external control keyboard to move the machines. This is because the automobiles I produce are small in sizes. This means a human being cannot really enter there to drive. This is the reason why driving and other manipulations are done from outside," he said.
Blaise has never undergone any formal training so that he can produce these remote-controlled toys. It was through his scientific curiosity and hunger to do something captivating that he taught himself how to make all the automobiles. It is simply the phenomenal work of his seemingly infinite creative mind.
Due to the ongoing and unresolved Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, Blaise was displaced from his home. The incessant violence compelled him to drop out of school.
"I was in Bamenda and that crisis (Anglophone crisis) disturbed me alot. I was going to school so I decided to drop schoool because of the crisis. So, I have to look for a place that I can be comfortable so that I continue doing what am doing. So, I come to Douala so I can go to school and continue also with the research project."
His major hope right now is to complete school then proceed with university education. He wants to pursue Engineering for his tertiary education.
Currently, he owns a toy company named ‘Chi Style’ although he harbors wishes of the Ministry of Scientific Innovation and Technological Development in Cameroon to render him the necessary assistance for his project to fly high.
There is always abounding innovation and creativity coming out of Africa and such feats should always be celebrated and emblazoned in the African narrative of progress.
Header image credit - Afrohustler