Many people have dreams and ambitions in life which no matter how far from achieving them they might be, with passion, the urge to realize their vision never ends.
George Gitie, a self-proclaimed engineer who only attended his primary education at G.G. Kinamba Primary School in Laikipia County, if judged by his appearance, is just an ordinary go-getter, who probably tries to make both ends meet for himself and family.
However, after sharing one and one with him you will learn that he is not just someone normal with average target in life but a person with something extra and special in his life.
On a Thursday afternoon, at the entrance of a public garden opposite to Nyahururu Sub- county offices, Gitie parks his ‘jet’, a plane-like three wheeled vehicle, which on the first sight, you might be convinced that it had landed after a successful flight.
In a one on one interview, the self-made engineer, a man in his early 50s, says that he just arrived from Kinamba area, Laikipia West where he lived with his family.
It had taken him a two-hour ride to Nyahururu town in his ‘home made land running jet,’ as he terms it for it is a plane by looks but a vehicle by performance, suiting the phrase, ‘at ground things are different.’
Taking a glance on the carefully bound red blue and white coloured sheets of the craft’s body, the conclusion one can make is that Gitie spent his life on it, only to get it from him that he is a casual labourer on farms and only worked on the plane when free from main hustle.
The technology used in building of the plane to be, though simple, makes it hard to be convinced that he never attended classes for such but depended on his talent with use of scrap metals and second hand vehicle parts.
Gitie says that with a little added knowledge he sort from the internet, he believes that his dream will one day come true and his machine will fly.
“I depend on the money I get from people who come to take pictures in it or pay for a ride in the ‘jet’ so that I can get fuel and buy other parts to improve it,” the ambitious Getie, says before pausing our conversation to talk to a number of people who were attracted by the perhaps next Kenyan airliner.
The home-made ‘jet’ consists of a motorcycle engine and a small sized lead acid battery for starting the engine and also powering the propellers made of car radiator motors.
Though not strong enough to airlift the machine, the propellers serve just that, decorating the three wheeler into an aircraft.
“I have so many passers-by approaching whenever they see this and regardless of their gender or age, those interested are always driven by curiosity to learn more,” Gitie alias ‘engineer’ uttered as our conversation resumed after attending to an admirer.
‘Engineer’ had it that his ongoing journey to make the first Kenyan made aircraft started back in the year 2002 until 2008 when he had to pause after people warned him that his ambitions could lead to him being harassed by government for not having permit to do so.
“When you are up to something, you are the only one who understands it and never listen to other people’s discouraging views to avoid negativity,” ‘Engineer’ Gitie regrets.
He goes on narrating that in 2013 he could no longer abide by people’s views and continued with efforts to pursue his ambitions with even more determination and focus.
What stood before us was the third trial of his design and he shared pictures of previous designs which the dreamer, in green overall working suit, says he dismantled to save on material cost.
The man full of enthusiasm believes that he will realise his vision by the year 2030 so that a solution of motor vehicle congestions on the country’s roads can be attained and asks the government and other well-wishers to support not only him but also other people with similar ambitions as his in the country.
Gitie is someone who should be embraced and his abilities put into use for his good and for the good of the country.
A week later, I expected to meet Gitie for more but in vain and as per the business people around who were familiar to him, said the man was probably busy back in Kinamba village, working in farms.
By Paul Wekesa